Julie Clark founder of Province Apothecary on essential oils to avoid during pregnancy

Photo credit: Kristin Sjaarda

Can I use essential oils while I’m pregnant?

Essential oils are a topic of confusion for many women during pregnancy –they certainly were for me! I could never get a straight answer about whether I should avoid them, or not. I have since learned that it’s not only important to know which essential oils to avoid during pregnancy, but also know the dilution of essential oils to make an informed decision.


Julie Clark founder of Province Apothecary on essential oils to avoid during pregnancy

Photo credit: Kristin Sjaarda


To get some clarity on the topic, I asked Julie Clark, Aromatherapist and Founder of skincare line Province Apothecary.


Here’s what she had to say:


“Pregnant or not, I avoid synthetic fragrances and dyes. I would much rather use a natural alternative, like an essential oil, over a synthetic fragrance. That being said, it all depends on you! I recommend using skincare products that have less then 1% essential oils (which equals 6 drops in 30 ml of carrier oil). I wouldn’t freak out if you use a product with a higher dilution. Just see how you feel and slowly stop using the product until you are in your 3rd trimester.”


How harmful really are essential oils during pregnancy? Can they actually harm your baby?

“The reason to avoid essential oils during pregnancy stems from the same reasons why you should avoid certain (potentially) harmful foods, herbs, etc. while pregnant; simply put, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Some essential oils are actually emmenagogues (they can bring on your period), others are alcohols and can be absorbed into the blood stream and placenta. Additionally, internal over-consumption of essential oils can lead to liver issues. This is why (in general) aromatherapists do not suggest using essential oils internally.”


There are many essential oils that are safe to use during pregnancy, but it is recommended that you wait to use them until your second or third trimester.

Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy

Safe Essential Oils During Pregnancy:

Bergamot, Chamomile (German and Roman), Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Rose Otto, Grapefruit, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Mandarin, Neroli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood, Sweet Orange, Tea Tree, Yang Ylang

Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy:

Aniseed, Basil, Birch, Camphor, Hyssop, Mugwort, Parsley seed or leaf, Pennyroyal, Rue, Oak Moss Sage, Tansy, Tarragon, Thuja, Wintergreen, Wormwood, Oregano, Thyme, Savoury, Clove, Cinnamon, Cumin, Aniseed, Fennel, Anise star

Speak with your healthcare provider before using any essential oils 


For more on the topic of pregnancy and skincare, also read the blog post: “Skincare Ingredients to Avoid When Pregnant”


Pregnancy Friendly Skincare: