essential oils pregnancy calgary

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Disclaimer: SkinScience Clinic has always taken a conservative stand when it comes to pregnancy, breastfeeding and skin care. Essential oils contain powerful actives, and we recommend that you consult with your doctor first, before using any type of essential oils. Clinical studies addressing the safety of essential oils in pregnancy are scarce, due to the ethical problems with testing substances on pregnant women and their fetuses. For this reason, scientific literature primarily relies on history of safe use, recognizing that some pregnant women will be more sensitive to essential oils than others, based on their genetic differences. If you are pregnant or lactating, please consult with your doctor before using any product containing essential oils.

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ARE ESSENTIAL OILS SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?

Many women seek out natural remedies during pregnancy because they want to avoid taking medications or using anything that is toxic on their skin or in their diet. Essential oils (EO) can help with certain pregnancy symptoms, aches, even with severe discomfort in some cases, but some of them shouldn’t be used while pregnant or breastfeeding.  Before you use your favorite essential oil, get informed on which EOs are safe for your little one.

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Essential oils have become a very popular choice with women looking for alternative ways to ease the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy (nausea, morning sickness, muscle aches, back ache, stuffy nose, sleep problems, etc.). The latest report by Value Market Research claims the Global Essential Oil Market was valued $7,200M USD in 2017 and is likely to reach at $12,745.02 MN USD by 2024. 

The EO trend is here to stay, so better get informed – knowledge is power when it comes to EOs!

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WHEN CAN I USE ESSENTIAL OILS?

When it comes to using essential oils during pregnancy:

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Skip the First Trimester Altogether – no EOs

Second + Third Trimester, Breastfeeding – pick your EOs carefully

Source: Mayo Clinic

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Just like EOs’ actives can pass through the layers of skin, some essential oil components may pass into the bloodstream all the way to the placenta (or breastmilk while breastfeeding) where they could affect the growing baby and its development. There is still a lot to learn on how essential oils might impact pregnancy. There is very little scientific data about the specific (cellular and molecular) mechanisms of EOs, so better safe than sorry.

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THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR PREGNANCY

As long as your pregnancy is going well, the following essential oils are regarded as generally safe by the scientific community when used as recommended, during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters:

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  • Bergamot – Citrus bergamia
  • Cardamom
  • Chamomile – Chamomilla recutita, Chamaemelum nobile
  • Cypress – Cupressus sempervirens
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense – Boswellia carterii
  • Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens
  • Ginger Root – Zingiber officinale
  • Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Rose – Rosa damascena
  • Spearmint
  • Sandalwood – Santalum album
  • Ylang Ylang – Cananga odorata genuina

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HOW TO USE TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS WHEN PREGNANT

The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists has created guidelines on using essential oils safely when pregnant. They recommend limiting EO use to two most common way of administration: inhalation and topical.

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It is best to AVOID INGESTING essential oils until you are done breastfeeding.

Source: WebMD

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Inhalation

Pregnancy brings on many side effects, and a common one is a heightened sense of smell. You may love some scents and absolutely hate others, so choose an oil that is not only safe, but isn’t overbearing for you. Inhalation using a diffuser can be especially effective for pregnant women suffering from nausea and sleep issues. If you have a diffuser, make sure you’re following safe diffusion guidelines, as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

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PREGNANCY-SAFE ESSENTIAL OILS + OPTIMAL USES

Essential Oils for nausea and morning sickness:

  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint 
  • Lavender

Essential Oils for calmness and to reduce anxiety

  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Vanilla
  • Ylang Ylang

Essential Oils to Clear Sinuses

  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon

Essential Oils to reduce Swelling and Water Retention

  • Lavender
  • Ginger
  • Geranium

Essential Oils for Heartburn

  • Peppermint
  • Sandalwood
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger

Essential Oils for Energizing

  • Citrus
  • Grapefruit
  • Mandarin
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon
  • Spearmint
  • Sweet Orange

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Topical

Your skin may be even more sensitive when you’re pregnant, so diluting EOs is especially important to avoid irritation. Never apply pure essential oils directly on the skin while pregnant. Use 3-4 drops of essential oil for every ounce (30ml) of your favorite base (oil, lotion or moisturizer). 

Essential Oils to prevent Stretch marks: 

  • Frankincense
  • Rose
  • Chamomile

Essential Oils to promote Sleep: 

  • Lavender 
  • Frankincense
  • Ylang Ylang

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ESSENTIAL OILS TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY

Essential oils are highly concentrated, and have various levels of toxicity when not used properly. Don’t assume it’s safe because it’s natural, and be aware that not all essential oil companies test their oils for quality. 

The medical literature reports that some essential oils appear to interfere with hormone behavior in the cells, and scientists suspect that some EOs may work as endocrine disruptors. Some EOs can also interact with medications, or cause an allergic or toxic reaction. Others can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, provoke skin rashes, allergies, racing heart, vomiting, seizure and even contractions. Essential oils can be powerful, so it’s better to be extra-uber-ultra safe than sorry.

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The following ESSENTIAL OILS are believed to be UNSAFE for use during pregnancy:

  • Arnica
  • Basil
  • Birch (sweet)
  • Bitter almond
  • Boldo leaf
  • Broom
  • Buchu
  • Calamus
  • Camphor (brown or yellow)
  • Cassia
  • Cedarwood
  • Chervil
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove (bud, leaf or stem)
  • Coriander
  • Costus
  • Deertongue
  • Elecampane
  • Fennel
  • Horseradish
  • Hyssop
  • Jaborandi leaf
  • Juniper berry
  • Melilotus
  • Mugwort
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Origanum
  • Parsley (large doses)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pine (dwarf)
  • Rosemary
  • Rue
  • Sassafras
  • Savin
  • Savory (summer)
  • Tansy
  • Thyme red (large doses)
  • Tonka
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

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SKINSCIENCE’S GUIDELINES FOR USE OF ESSENTIAL OILS DURING PREGNANCY

  1. Do not use EOs during your the 1st trimester of your pregnancy.
  2. Some EOs can be used during the 2nd and 3rd trimester. 
  3. Never ingest EOs (even diluted) during pregnancy and lactation (breastfeeding)
  4. The best ways to use EOs during pregnancy and lactation is topically and by using a diffuser.
  5. When using a diffuser, only use it for 10-15 minutes at a time, for a maximum of 3 times per day.
  6. When used topically – less is more when it comes to EOs. Always dilute a few drops (3-4) in a carrier oil (30ml of grapeseed, coconut, olive or almond oil).
  7. Avoid using absolutes.
  8. NEVER add essential oils to the birthing pool.
  9. Only use EOs that are approved by your doctor.

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PREGNANCY-SAFE SKIN CARE + ESSENTIAL OILS

Here are a few skin care products (as well as Canadian-made essential oils) that are safe to use during pregnancy (and recommended by Marie):

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Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life, where a healthy diet, lifestyle and skin care can contribute to a healthy pregnancy. It’s also a time where we can experience skin changes (unfortunately, not everyone gets that coveted pregnancy glow), including sensitive skin, itchy skin,  stretch marks, increased oiliness and more acne breakouts than usual. That’s normal for most pregnant women, and SkinScience can help you find healthy, non-prescription options to help you out.

Do you have questions about your skin care products? We would be happy to help you find the best skin care routine that is safe for you and your baby!

Our popular 1-hour “Skin Care Consultation” is only a phone call away: 403-287-1477. 

We look forward to meeting you (and your future baby) soon!

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