How to Beat Morning Sickness and Nausea with Essential Oils

Essential oils used with care and precaution during pregnancy can alleviate low and negative moods, and provide relief for nausea and morning sickness. Topical usage with strong dilution can also reduce aches and pains. However, it is important to follow these guidelines prior to usage for the safety purpose of you and your baby.

Essential oils which are safe to use during pregnancy

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) and the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA) agree that the following essential oils are safe for use during pregnancy when properly diluted (not an exhaustive list):

  • Benzoin
  • Bergamot
  • Black pepper
  • Chamomile (both German & Roman)
  • Clary sage
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Marjoram (Sweet)
  • Neroli
  • Petitgrain
  • Orange (Sweet)
  • Rose Otto
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea Tree
  • Ylang ylang

Essential oils which are NOT safe to use during pregnancy

NAHA and IFPA again agree that the following essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding (not an exhaustive list):

  • Anise star
  • Aniseed
  • Basil
  • Camphor
  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Cumin
  • Elecampane
  • Fennel
  • Hyssop
  • Mustard
  • Mugwort
  • Oregano
  • Parsley (Seed & Leaf)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Sassafras
  • Sage
  • Savoury
  • Sweet birch
  • Tansy
  • Tarragon
  • Thuja
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

For precaution, please follow the guidelines below for using essential oils while pregnant.

Do a sniff test. To do this, simply add a drop of your choice of pregnancy-safe essential oil (refer to above list) onto a cotton ball or handkerchief, and gently inhale it. Pregnancy may increase your sensitivity to smell so what may smell mild or pleasant to you before may smell overpowering during pregnancy. Make sure NOT to ingest the oils.

Do a patch test if you decide to use essential oils topically. Combine a drop of essential oil with one teaspoon of carrier oil. Apply this on the inner wrist or the inner forearm. Discontinue use immediately if a negative reaction occurs. Proceed with use if there is no reaction.

Practice strong dilution. Typical dilution is anywhere from 1% to 5%. However, when you’re pregnant, the dilution rate should be 0.2% to 1% to lower the risk of adverse effects. Certain essential oils are also phototoxic, meaning they can cause your skin to burn or darken quicker when exposed to direct sunlight, so it is advisable to use topically at night time.

Essential Oil Blends for Pregnancy

Without further ado, here are a few essential oil recipes to try out during pregnancy. Diffuse them for 15-30 minutes to reduce nausea and morning sickness, reduce fatigue, reduce anxiety and other negative emotions, and improve overall mood and mental wellness. For diffusers with the standard 100ml capacity, use 4-5 drops of essential oils. For 200ml water capacity, you may use 6-8 drops. Pregnancy may heighten the sense of smell and increasing sensitivity to it. Therefore, try using lower amounts if needed.

Chamomile + Patchouli + Bergamot

The fresh floral scent of chamomile has a positive influence on mood, promoting relaxation and managing feelings of anxiety. The sweet and woody scent of patchouli improves both cognitive function and quality of sleep. The pleasantly spicy and tart scent of bergamot eliminates airborne bacteria in the air and facilitates easier breathing.

Pregnancy Mood Lifter
100ml water200ml water
Option A
1-2 drops chamomile/patchouli
1-2 drops bergamot  
Option A
2-4 drops chamomile/patchouli
2-4 drops bergamot
Option B
1 drop chamomile
1 drop patchouli
1-2 drops bergamot
Option B
2 drops chamomile
2 drops patchouli
2-4 drops bergamot  

Ginger + Geranium + Orange

Ginger is effective in providing relief for morning sickness and nausea. Its warm and comforting scent also combats fatigue and lethargy, and boost energy levels. Geranium provides relief for emotional distress and insomnia with its herbaceous floral scent. Orange’s sweet and uplifting scent assists with health maintenance by warding off airborne bacteria and strengthening the body’s immunity against threats.

Morning Sickness Relief
100ml water200ml water
Option A
1-2 drops ginger/geranium
1-2 drops orange  
Option A
2-4 drops ginger/geranium
2-4 drops orange  
Option B
1-2 drops ginger
1 drop geranium
1-2 drops orange
Option B
2-3 drops ginger
2 drops geranium
2-3 drops orange

Cardamom + Neroli + Lemon

Cardamom facilitates deeper and more relaxed breathing with its spicy and balsamic scent while boosting the immune system. Lemon helps to combat vomiting and nausea while purifying the air with its cheerful citrusy scent. Neroli acts as a natural sleep aid and mood enhancer with its lovely floral and citrusy scent.

100ml water200ml water
Option A
1-2 drops cardamom/neroli
1-2 drops lemon
Option A
2-4 drops cardamom/neroli
2-4 drops lemon  
Option B
1-2 drops cardamom
1-2 drops neroli
1 drop lemon
Option B
2-3 drops cardamom
2-3 drops neroli
2 drops lemon  

Eucalyptus + Cypress + Grapefruit

Eucalyptus’s clean and earthy aroma helps support the immune system to fight off and recover from seasonal threats. Cypress’s fresh and woody scent is energizing and emotionally grounding. Grapefruit’s uplifting and tangy scent helps to perk you right up by combating fatigue and nausea.

100ml water200ml water
Option A
1-2 drops eucalyptus/cypress
1-2 drops grapefruit    
Option A
2-4 drops eucalyptus/spearmint
2-4 drops grapefruit
Option B
1-2 drops eucalyptus
1 drop cypress
1 drop grapefruit
Option B
2-3 drops eucalyptus
2 drops cypress
2-3 drops grapefruit  

Lavender (English/True) + Sandalwood + Black Pepper

True or English lavender’s (avoid Spanish lavender for safety purposes) soothing floral scent helps with morning sickness and insomnia. Sandalwood, exotic and woody, is a natural sedative and anti-depressant, combating stress, tension and other low moods. Black pepper’s sharp and crisp scent relieves nausea and sluggishness.

100ml water200ml water
Option A
1-2 drops lavender/sandalwood
1-2 drops black pepper    
Option A
2-4 drops lavender/sandalwood
2-4 drops black pepper  
Option B
1 drop sandalwood
1 drop black pepper
2 drops lavender
Option B
2 drops sandalwood
2 drops black pepper
2-4 drops lavender  

Due to the enhanced sensitivity to smell, you may want to add a drop or two of your choice of essential oil onto a cotton ball or handkerchief for a smell test before trying out to the blends. It is advised to consult with your doctor before proceeding with essential oils and if you have young children (under 10 years old), make sure to keep them away from the direct mist.

Last but not least, consult with your doctor or a qualified aromatherapist. Whether or not you’re with child, this is an important step, especially if you have a medical condition. If the professional’s advice is you to skip the use of essential oils completely, please be sure not to go against it their advice.