Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies offers many suggestions for the use of essential oils to address common symptoms of pregnancy, use in labor, postpartum healing, and with your baby. The only way to really evaluate essential oil advice is to put it to use and see how you respond. This is because there is very little research about essential oil use in pregnancy available. Some people say that essential oils can be toxic and should not be used. To the best of my knowledge, the studies behind this assertion are all animal studies, and they find subtle effects upon autopsy but no major effects (such as malformations or neurotoxicity) have been found even at very high exposures.
Studies on efficacy in humans are mostly limited to descriptive case studies which are generally favorable, or to quantitative studies that show little to no benefit. That being said, I personally love essential oils. In phases of my life I have used them a lot. I have not tested out the specific recommendations in Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies, so this review is limited in that way, but I will share my impressions and some general thoughts about essential oil use.
I did not like Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies compared with other essential oil books, but that’s really just personal opinion. This book reads like a promotional booklet for the doTERRA brand of essential oils. doTERRA is a multi-level marketing company and the oils are sold by individuals who often become evangelicals for the brand, which of course increases their financial gains. The people I know who promote essential oils for medicinal use also sell oils either for doTERRA or Young Living. They are all very adamant about oil quality. I don’t have any reason to doubt their quality. I just come away with a sense of caution given the nature of the sales strategy, particularly because I don’t know anyone who promotes them who doesn’t sell them.
Another reason I didn’t love Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies is that I found a lot of the recommendations to be for more concentrated use of the oils than I typically see in other sources. While I, myself, have never had an adverse reaction to oils, I have had clients with sensitive skin experience irritation when they were not fully diluted in a carrier oil or emulsified in milk before adding to water. I did like the scope covered by this book. There were suggestions for many, many uses, which could be helpful to many people.
A few relevant words on essential oils in general: I have had great results using oils for general comfort such as nausea relief in labor and care of hemorrhoids after birth, both personally and with my clients. I do not have any experience using essential oils for medicinal purposes. I’ve had fine results from common brands like Aura Cacia, usually available through regular retailers. Avoid some of the very cheap oils, such as NOW brand.
If you are inclined to use essential oils during pregnancy, I think Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies is a fine resource for ideas on how to use the oils. I suspect that you’ll be very pleased and will enjoy the use of oils. I would encourage you to begin slowly and see how you personally respond and proceed from there. Are there cheaper and more simple ways to use oils? Yes, definitely – but I have no reason to doubt that this book would serve as a wonderful guide as well.
Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies’ Author, Stephanie Fritz
Stephanie Fritz, LM, CPM, is a homebirth midwife and doTERRA salesperson based in Arizona. She has operated a midwifery practice, now called the The Essential Midwife, since 1991 and has been using essential oils since 2008. She is the mother of four daughters.