In honor of the Great Mother, and to all mothers, I present this.
Many herbs common in magical studies and practice are dangerous to use during pregnancy. Mugwort tea, for instance, part of any standard divination ritual for many practitioners, will cause miscarriage (even late in the pregnancy) , and subsequent hemorrhaging. Fortunately, most herbs are safe to handle in small amounts, such as for charging and placing in charm bags, sprinkling around a ritual circle, or candle dressing. Essential oils, incense, smudging, consumption, and magical baths are the big concern, as they all involve contact with the skin, mucous membranes, and alter individual chemistry to a great degree.
Perfectly safe when done OUTSIDE, and in small doses! Sitting in a room full of billowing smoke is not healthy ( carbon monoxide), which is usually why smudging is contraindicated during pregnancy. Prolonged smudging without proper ventilation is a recipe for miscarriage. If you are looking to cleanse your aura and prepare for ritual, salted baths are lovely, however, many essential oils need to be avoided in your mixtures.
An oil diffuser is an excellent way to enjoy the aroma-therapeutic and magical properties of plants, especially as a healthy alternative to incense for those in delicate health or with allergies to smoke. For the anal retentive out there, yes, it still corresponds to the element of Air. Add a feather if you need further, more visual aids.
All essential oils are contraindicated during the first trimester, (and should be avoided entirely for high-risk pregnancies) however, if you miss your favorite scent, floral waters (hydrosols) are widely available, and can be safely employed, as they are not nearly as concentrated as neat essential oils. After the first trimester, most citrus oils are considered safe, including Bergamot, at a 1-50% dilution rate; evergreen oils such as cedar ( Atlas, Virginia, and Texas cedars inclusive ), as well as spicy or irritating oils (Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove, Allspice) are to be avoided entirely. The following list is nowhere near complete, and some herbalists are much more conservative than others, and opinions, experience and science swing the vote one way or another. Avoid the following, or do more research as to dilution rates.
Allspice (Pimenta officinalis)
Anise seed (Pimpinella anisum)
Balsam, Peru (Myroxylon balsamum)
Basil, Sweet (Ocimum basilicum)
Bay (Pimenta racemosa)
Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Bergamot Mint (Mentha citrata)
Cajeput (Melaleuca minor)
Camphor (Cinnamonum camphora)
Carrot Seed (Daucus carota)
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Cedarwood, Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)
Cedarwood, Virginia (Juniperus virginiana)
Celery Seed (Apium graveolens)
Cinnamon (C. zeylanicum)
Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus)
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
Clove (Eugenia aromatica)
Copaiba Balsam (Copaifera officinalis)
Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum)
Cornmint (Mentha arvensis)
Dill Seed (Anethum graveolens)
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus, E. citriodora)
Fennel, Sweet (Foeniculum vulgare)
Galangal (Alpinia officinalis)
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Grapefruit, white (Citrus paradisi)
Ho Wood (Cinnamomum camphora)
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)
Labdanum (Cistus ladaniferus)
Lavender, Spike (Lavendula latifolia)
Lemon (Citrus limonium)
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)
Lime Peel (Citrus aurantifolia)
Lovage (Levisticum officinalis)
Mandarine, Red (Citrus reticulata)
Marjoram, Sweet (Marjorana hortensis)
Marjoram, Wild (Thymus mastichina)
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
Myrtle (Myrtus communis)
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
Opopanax (Commiphora guidotii)
Orange (Citrus sinesis, C.aurantium)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Parsley Seed (Petroselinum sativum)
Pine, Scotch (Pinus sylvestris)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Savory, winter (Satureja montana)
Spruce (Tsuga canadensis)
Tagetes (Tagetes minuta)
Tangerine (Citrus reticulata)
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata)
Wondering what you CAN use? Actually, quite a few of the oils listed above are safe, but only under the guidance of an experienced aromatherapists. For example, many pregnant woman have no negative reaction to ylang-ylang, however, if you also have liver damage or suffer from epilepsy, and intense migraines, it would cause a problem. This isn’t something I can help you with over the Net, so I tend to err on the cautious side!
The following are considered safe by most aroma therapists, however, ALWAYS dilute your essential oils in a base, or carrier oil (jojoba and sweet almond are okay), DO NOT, under any circumstances, take essential oils internally, and when in doubt, ask your herbalist, Midwife, or Ob/Gyn.
Benzoin, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Neroli, Orange, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Spearmint, Tea Tree, and Vetiver.
Rose, Jasmine, and Clary Sage can be helpful during the actual delivery.
Do not consume mugwort, wormwood, yarrow, prickly ash, slippery elm, chaste berry, motherwort, parsley, and any of the poisonous herbs, OBVIOUSLY. Some people recommend against ginger during pregnancy, as it is considered a mild stimulant, but it is the single most useful treatment for morning sickness. Simply slice a bit off of a fresh ginger root, cover with nearly boiling water, and allow to steep for about five minutes. Sip it slowly; you WILL feel better within moments. This really does need to made with the fresh root, as ginger powder is horribly acidic.
This has been, by no means comprehensive! Keep researching, keep learning.If you need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact your OB/GYN, as more doctors within this field are educating themselves on the benefits and dangers of alternative medicine.