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)

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

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    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.


    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

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