Safe Expectations

by Kristin Vukovic

Worry-free prenatal products for pregnancy and beyond

Pregnancy brings a heightened sense of awareness about the body—what goes into it, and on it. Changing up 
your skincare routine can seem daunting, especially when you’re searching for natural products that are safe to use during pregnancy.

“What we eat and the products we use while pregnant are exposed to the baby, so we want to make sure we are choosing wisely by eating whole organic foods and using skincare products that are all-natural and contain nourishing ingredients,” says Shel Pink, founder of SpaRitual.

For many women, pregnancy is the turning point in embracing a more organic lifestyle, and provides the inspiration to tidy up their beauty regimen. “Pregnancy is often a wake-up call, where an awareness of what women apply to their skin is of great concern, starting with protecting their developing baby but extending to learning about the hazards of commonly used additives that are best eliminated,” says Robin Brown, cofounder and CEO of Erbaviva Organic Skincare.


Here is a guide to some products we love, for when you’re expecting.


Osmia Organics Organic Tea Bath
Founder and CEO of Osmia Organics, Sarah Villafranco, MD, is a mother, a doctor and a formulator. “When I chose ingredients for our line,” she says, “I looked to science for real data on which ingredients to exclude, and came up with the Osmia Tox Screen that’s on all of our packaging.”This power-packed muslin tea bag helps soothe pregnancy aches and pains as well as dry, itchy skin. A blend of Epsom salt, organic oat straw and rolled oats, rose petals and buds, calendula, chamomile and spearmint leaves calms skin and lifts your spirits during baths. Eczema, a common condition that can pop up during pregnancy, is soothed by molecules in the oats that have a gel-like texture when combined with moisture, functioning as a skin protectant. osmiaorganics.com

Erbaviva Organic Skincare Pregnancy Massage Oil
Best applied by a friend or partner, this blend is the perfect solution for sore, tired muscles and tendons that need some love while your body undergoes changes during pregnancy. Bring it with you to prenatal massage to ensure that a quality organic oil free of artificial fragrances, silicones, petrochemicals or dyes is used on your body. Custom-blended for pregnancy, with sunflower seed and sweet almond oils, organic chamomile, lavender and rosemary leaf extract, to bring relaxation to tired mind and body. erbaviva.com

Earth Mama Organics Belly Oil
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause your skin to lose its elasticity and moisture as it stretches and tightens. As your belly grows, dry and itchy skin in the stomach area is a common complaint. This sweet-smelling blend helps soothe skin and reduce the appearance of emerging stretch marks with a proprietary herb-infused mixture including grape seed, jojoba, borage seed oil, calendula, sweet orange and flower oils, in addition to floral extracts. earthmama.com

SpaRitual Earl Grey Oil Salve
SpaRitual’s Earl Grey body products are 100 percent nature-derived, vegan, and contain a high percentage of certified organic ingredients. “The oil salve is great for a daily self-massage to calm the central nervous system, tone the skin and reduce the signs of stretch marks,” says founder Shel Pink. The silky formula absorbs easily and leaves skin nourished and hydrated without feeling greasy—a little goes a long way. We love the delicate, uplifting hints of bergamot and orange essential oils. sparitual.com

H. Gillerman Organics Sleep Remedy
Pregnancy can disrupt sleep patterns, whether it’s due to morning sickness, your little one kicking in your belly at night or just being uncomfortable with your growing belly. A balancing blend of lavandin grosso, blood orange, clary sage and lavender works together to help you unwind. (After all, you’ll need all the sleep you can get before baby arrives!) For a dose of aromatherapy, founder Hope Gillerman says pregnant women should tap one to two drops of Sleep Remedy on a tissue and hold it at least two inches away from your nose, inhaling 5-10 slow deep breaths. hgillermanorganics.com


Essential Oils During Pregnancy


Some essential oils are not advised during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. “Most aromatherapists prefer their pregnant clients to err on the side of caution and avoid using essential oils during the first trimester—when risk of miscarriage is higher—and to follow a stricter guideline for diluting essential oils. The accepted dilution level for pregnancy is one percent,” says Hope Gillerman, founder of H. Gillerman Organics.

It can be confusing to understand which oils are safe to use while pregnant, and which to avoid—many women avoid them altogether because they are unsure, but, used correctly, they can be very beneficial. “There is a large collection of essential oils that pregnant women have been cautioned to avoid for years, but today this list is smaller,” Gillerman says. “We now believe, when used moderately and correctly, many essential oils will be safe for most mothers.”

Gillerman recommends using only certified organic essential oils, which have been certified by a third party to be 100 pure and grown without pesticides.

Essential oils that are safe to use during pregnancy
Essential oils that come from flowers: Roman Chamomile, Geranium, Lavender, Neroli, Rose and Ylang-Ylang
Citrus fruits: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Orange, Mandarin and Tangerine
Deeply relaxing oils like Sandalwood, Patchouli, Palmarosa and Frankincense

Essential oils that are not recommended even in safer, low doses, especially the starred oils
Anise, Birch, Blue Cypress, *Camphor, Carrot Seed, *Cinnamon Bark & Cassia Oil, *Clove, *Fennel, Sweet Melissa, Myrrh, Myrtle, *Oregano, Parsley, *Sage, *Thyme, Blue Tansy, Wintergreen and Pennyroyal.

Essential oils that are not safe unless in extremely low dosage, so it is best to avoid altogether
Basil, Champaca, Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Litsea Cubeba (May chang), Lemon Verbena, Lemon Tea Tree, as well as stimulating spice oils like Rosemary.

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