Essential Oils You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

The essential oils primer every expecting mom needs.

Essential Oils You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

Often touted as a go-to remedy for many aches and ailments, essential oils have quickly become one of the most popular natural products for self-care and women's health. But just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe during every stages of life. That’s especially true during pregnancy.

You can absolutely use essential oils safely when you are expecting. You just have to know which ones to use and how to use them. Equipped with the right information, essential oils can actually be a powerful wellness ally during your pregnancy (and beyond). But first, you need to know which ones to avoid, as some of them have been linked to birth defects and miscarriage. But no need to worry, we’re here to give you the lowdown on what essential oils NOT to use when you’re expecting.


Here’s a list of 44 essential oils you should avoid during pregnancy and why you should avoid them. And if you’re trying to get pregnant or are breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to steer clear of these oils as well.

Oils that could damage our livers. This is especially true if you take them in large amount. That not only puts mama-to-be at risk, but also her unborn baby.

  1. Buchu ct diosphenol
  2. Buchcu ct pulegone
  3. Calamint

Oils that may prevent implantation. When you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it’s a smart move to avoid anything that might interfere with the embryo’s ability to attach to the uterus.

  1. Spanish Sage (possible teratogen)
  2. Anise/ Star Anise
  3. Fennel (sweet and Bitter)
  4. Myrtle/ Aniseed
  5. Wormwood
  6. Yarrow (possible teratogen)
  7. Carrot seed

Oils that can interfere with baby’s in vitro development. Substances that can cause malformation of an embryo are known as teratogens. The three oils below, along with other oils that are listed in other categories, are teratogens and should therefore not be used during pregnancy.

  1. Hibawood
  2. Sweet Birch
  3. Wintergreen

Oils that can induce miscarriages. The oils below are high in compounds that have been linked to miscarriage or have resulted in miscarriage when used in large amounts.

  1. Savin (possible teratogen)
  2. Juniper
  3. Pennyroyal
  4. Rue
  5. Parsley
  6. Indian Dill

Oils that are neurotoxic. These oils, like mercury and other neurotoxins, have the potential to damage a baby’s developing nervous system, including their nerves and brain.

  1. Aretemesia Vestita
  2. Genipi
  3. Mugwort
  4. Dalmatian Sage
  5. Tansy
  6. Thuja
  7. Western red cedar
  8. Wormwood (possible teratogen)
  9. Hyssop
  10. lanyana
  11. Ho Leaf ct camphor
  12. Feverfew
  13. Spanish Lavender
  14. Dalmatian Sage

Oils that can inhibit blood vessel formation. It's incredibly important for blood vessels to form between mother and her placenta, and the placenta and her baby. Without these pathways, nutrients and oxygen can't pass to the baby from mom. And waste can't pass from the baby to be eliminated. The oils below may prevent those very important blood vessels from forming.

  1. Myrrh
  2. Costus
  3. Araucaria
  4. Black seed
  5. Atractylis
  6. Blue Cypress
  7. Zedoary

Oils that can be toxic to the baby. These essential oils may have any number of toxic effects on a developing baby. Though the oils of these three plants are thought to be unsafe during pregnancy, it’s perfectly safe to eat both cinnamon and oregano in normal amounts during pregnancy.

  1. Cassia
  2. Cinnamon bark (possible teratogen)
  3. Oregano

Oils that can alter our body’s hormonal balance. Some oils have the potential to balance hormones, which can be a good thing. But pregnant women are generally encouraged to avoid herbs or essential oils that may have an impact on their sex hormones. That is, unless their doctor tells them otherwise.

  1. Chasteberry (also known as vitex)

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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