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8 min read / 6 September 2023 / Laura Garvin Gomez

Is Rosemary Oil Safe During Pregnancy?

Exploring the Safety of Rosemary Oil for Expectant Mothers: A Comprehensive Guide.

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Bringing a baby into this world is a beautiful thing, although the journey towards delivery can take its toll on the mind and body.

People looking for natural stress and pain relief remedies often consider using rosemary oil, as it could help ease several pregnancy symptoms.

Here, we look at rosemary oil and pregnancy and discuss some of the ways it may be able to help, the best time to use it, how to enjoy the oil’s aromatherapeutic benefits and some of the potential risks involved.

Can I use rosemary oil during pregnancy?

There is some confusion about using rosemary oil during pregnancy, as not enough research has been conducted to fully verify its scientific benefits and risks. This leads people to wonder, “Is rosemary essential oil safe during pregnancy?” and unfortunately, the answer is far from clear-cut.

Using the oil in moderation through inhalation or diffusion is considered to be safe by some standard agencies, although depending on the individual’s medical history and pregnancy condition, there could be some cases where this is not true. Speaking with a qualified doctor should be able to provide you with more clarity based on your circumstances.

Is eating rosemary oil during pregnancy safe?

Ingesting rosemary oil during pregnancy could cause complications, as not enough is known about its potential effects. When used as a herb in food recipes, it is generally considered safe to consume in small amounts, although you should avoid ingesting it in medicinal amounts. This is according to the (FDA), which labels the use of rosemary oil as a food ingredient as “likely safe”.

Although there have not been any recently published reports of people experiencing miscarriage due to the consumption of rosemary, experts advise that ingesting large amounts in your food could be unsafe. Please also be aware that we at Nikura do not sell food-grade essential oils, and as such, you should not ingest them.

Small amber glass bottle with rosemary sprigs around it

Can using rosemary oil during pregnancy cause a miscarriage?

Generally, you should avoid using rosemary oil or any other type of essential oil during the first 3 months of pregnancy. This is due to their high concentration levels, which could be too toxic for both you and the baby. There is also not enough reliable information available to confirm that rosemary oil is safe to apply topically during pregnancy, so it is probably a good idea to avoid using it in this way.

What are the benefits of using rosemary oil during pregnancy?

Using rosemary essential oil during pregnancy can offer some aromatherapeutic benefits, such as:

1. It can work as a great stress reliever

There are moments during pregnancy that can be extremely stressful, whether it’s dealing with the changes to your body or worrying about the birth and what comes after. Inhaling or diffusing rosemary essential oil offers an ideal way to deal with stress and anxiety. It can help you find calm and moments of peace throughout the day, so you have more control over your thoughts and feelings.

2. Rosemary oil can stimulate hair growth

Although it isn’t a particularly common issue, some pregnant people can experience hair loss due to certain health conditions or hormone changes. It is also something that can occur in the immediate months after giving birth. that rosemary oil may be able to combat patchy hair loss, with one study showing positive results when a blend was rubbed into the scalp every day for 7 months.

3. Topical application may offer some pain relief

Many people believe rosemary oil can work as an effective pain reliever, and some medical research has been carried out to see how true that may be. involved stroke survivors using a combination of acupressure and a rosemary oil blend to relieve ongoing shoulder pain. One section of the group experienced a 30% reduction in pain, whilst other participants who only used acupressure, experienced a 15% reduction in pain.

4. It could improve circulation during pregnancy

Because your vascular system is gearing up to deliver oxygen and blood to you and your baby ahead of delivery, it means your heart is placed under increased pressure. And as your baby grows, it will start to push against the blood vessels that serve your back and legs, which can start to affect blood circulation. found that when rosemary oil was inhaled by 20 healthy young adults, they became more mentally refreshed and 25% less drowsy, compared to when they smelt a placebo oil. This corresponded to an increase in breathing, heart rate and pressure.

Woman holding her pregnant tummy. She's wearing a white shirt tunic dress. The sun is casting beams on the wall behind her

How to use rosemary oil during pregnancy

The safest way to use rosemary oil during pregnancy is either to inhale it or to disperse the oil using a diffuser.

To inhale rosemary oil, simply open the bottle and inhale the scent directly, taking care to avoid getting any of the oil on your skin. Alternatively, you can place 1-2 drops onto a handkerchief or tissue and inhale the scent when needed.

If you want to diffuse rosemary oil, you can use an oil burner, electrical diffuser or burn a candle that has been infused with it. Then, you can enjoy the scent and associated health benefits as it slowly drifts into the air, so you can relax, unwind and enjoy some quiet downtime.

You can safely consume rosemary oil when it is used as normal in food recipes, although you should avoid ingesting higher medicinal doses.

What are the side effects of using rosemary oil during pregnancy?

Rosemary oil may have uterine and menstrual flow stimulants, which is why some people avoid using it completely during pregnancy, as it is believed it could trigger contractions and premature delivery. As we mentioned earlier in the article, the FDA classifies it as “likely safe” to consume in food amounts, although you should avoid ingesting it medicinally.

Before inhaling or diffusing rosemary oil or using any other type of essential oil, you should first speak with your doctor to ensure it is safe based on your individual circumstances.

Like all essential oils, due to its high concentration levels, rosemary may cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction. Typically, it would be advisable to complete a patch test, which involves applying a small amount of the diluted oil to your skin. However, as topical use of the oil during pregnancy may not be safe, if you have not used the oil before or are unsure about it causing an allergic reaction, it is probably a good idea to use an alternative.

Woman holding a rosemary sprig along the parting of her hair

What other essential oils can I use during pregnancy?

If you are concerned about rosemary and pregnancy, there are some other essential oils you can try that are considered safe to use after the first trimester. These include:

1. The fresh scent of peppermint oil could help you manage nausea

Morning sickness and feelings of nausea are symptoms commonly experienced by people during pregnancy. Inhaling the fresh scent of diluted Peppermint Essential Oil after applying it to your neckline or wrists may help to distract your senses away from the uncomfortable feeling. also suggested that the oil can reduce feelings of nausea when used for aromatherapy.

2. Lavender oil offers strong aromatherapy benefits

According to when Lavender Essential Oil is used correctly, it can prove very helpful during labour and delivery, making a very stressful moment easier to manage. even stated that the oil was able to reduce labour pain. You can try this by bringing a portable diffuser to the hospital to create a calm environment as you enter labour and delivery.

3. Cypress oil may be able to improve blood circulation

As we mentioned above, many pregnant people experience issues with their circulation, especially in the later months. If you develop varicose veins because of poor circulation, applying some diluted Cypress Essential Oil may be able to help. Although the evidence is purely anecdotal at this point, you could try an aromatherapeutic massage to soothe the pain and swelling caused by the condition so you experience fewer side effects.

4. Ease respiratory issues by inhaling frankincense oil

Due to changes in the respiratory system that occur during pregnancy, some people experience breathing issues. For hundreds of years, traditional medicine has used Frankincense Essential Oil to treat symptoms associated with asthma and bronchitis. is available that suggests it may be effective, with one study indicating its compounds could prevent the production of leukotrienes, which are responsible for the constriction of bronchial muscles in asthma.

Black and white illustration of a rosemary sprig

So, is rosemary oil safe during pregnancy? The answer is both yes and no, as it depends on how and when it is used. Consuming rosemary in small food amounts is considered safe by the FDA, although large medicinal amounts are not. Topical application of the oil should be avoided throughout your pregnancy, and if you want to diffuse or inhale rosemary oil, never do so during the first trimester (this also applies to all other essential oils). There are some potential benefits you could receive by using rosemary oil, although, because every pregnancy is different, we advise that you first speak with your doctor to get their professional medical advice.

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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