When you shop through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Is Tea Tree Oil During Pregnancy Safe?

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Njoud Jweihan, MD
Natural doesn't always mean safe.

Have you been wondering if you could implement tea tree oils into your daily routine while pregnant? But are you worried about whether it’s safe?

Tea tree oils may be able to help you relieve problems associated with pregnancy.

But knowing how to use tea tree oil during pregnancy and which kind to choose is essential before you get started.

Can I Use Tea Tree Oil During Pregnancy?

It’s important to remember that natural doesn’t always mean safe.

Keep in mind is that essential oils are highly concentrated, which makes them much more potent than other substances that use that same type of plant, like teas (1).

Is Tea Tree Oil Safe For Your Baby?

Like many products, there are risks associated with this one as well. The essential oils are of such purified content that they do have the ability to cross the placenta.

Important Note

You should not begin the use of any essential oils, including tea tree oil, until reaching the second trimester. The use of the oils can cause uterine contractions that can negatively affect your developing baby (2).

Proper Use

Tea tree oil should be applied topically to the skin in small amounts.

You should not use them orally. The concentrated amounts can be toxic to you and lethal for your unborn baby if ingested.

If you use the proper dilution and apply it to your skin appropriately, there should be little to no effects.

Some of the side effects you could experience if you ingest the oil:

  • Confusion.
  • Inability to walk.
  • Coma.
  • Inflammation of the skin.

When not ingested, some of the other side effects you might see, include:

  • Allergies.
  • Depressed behavior.
  • Hormonal side effects.

As you can see, some of the common side effects could be dangerous to an expectant mother. If you begin the use of tea tree oil and experience any of the above, you should immediately discontinue use and let your doctor know about it.

The typical side effects can lead to dehydration and an improper hormonal balance for a pregnant woman.

Important Facts For Your Safety

There is a lack of clinical evidence supporting the use of tea tree oil and pregnancy — however, it has been noted if you use it correctly, your baby should not be harmed.

Keeping that in mind, there are a couple of other facts you should know.

Tea Tree Oil Shouldn’t Be In The Mouth For Any Reason

Because tea tree oil is so concentrated, it should not be gargled. Expectant mothers should avoid oral exposure with Tea Tree oil at all costs.

There are some variations of a tea tree oil oral supplement. An expectant mother should avoid this — the amounts in this supplement are of a dangerous concentration.

It is always best to be cautious in pregnancy and use everything in moderation. There are many other alternatives to tea tree oil that you can use for any issues including skin issues during pregnancy and it is best to always discuss your options with your doctor before starting to use any natural or synthetic products at home. If you get approval from your doctor, always make sure you are buying 100% pure oils and always check the expiration date.

Headshot of Dr. Njoud Jweihan, MD

Editor's Note:

Dr. Njoud Jweihan, MD

Tea Tree Oils and Labor

It is strongly advised that you avoid the use of tea tree oils during labor. Tea tree oil has been known to lessen the frequency of contractions, and sometimes cause them to cease. This can be extremely dangerous for the mother and baby.

If it does not cause contractions to cease, it can cause them to become less effective. This can lead to longer labor and can potentially harm the mother and baby.

To ensure safe labor, it would be best to eliminate the use of tea tree oils once you reach 35 weeks in your pregnancy. If you are at risk for early labor, you should discontinue use even sooner.

Alternative Uses

Essential oils are very concentrated, and this is why they are so powerful. We mentioned above the oils can cross the placenta. If this is something that worries you, there are alternative ways to increase safety.

You Don’t Have To Apply The Oil Directly To Your Skin

You do not have to apply the oil drop directly to your skin. It may be better for you to dilute the oil before use, in general.

The dilution of the oil allows it to become less concentrated. Yes, this decreases its effectiveness, but it increases its safety.

Here is how you can do that.

  • Use the product in soap: You can mix the tea tree oil into a common face soap that you frequently use. This helps dilute the oil, but increase the effectiveness of your face wash.
  • Mix tea tree oil into your lotion: You can mix the oil into a facial lotion you use every day. This will allow your lotion to moisturize and the oil to treat your acne.
  • Add tea tree oil to shampoo: For mothers suffering from dandruff, a small amount of tea tree oil in your shampoo can possibly help cure this.

There are skin and hair products that already have tea tree oil incorporated but it is best to make sure of the purity of the oil and the safety of the whole product.

Another method of implementing tea tree oils into your life can be via a diffuser. This obviously eliminates the topical interaction, so your results will not be as effective. This option is safe for you and your baby starting in the second trimester, so it may be one to consider.

Be careful when using tea tree oil through a diffuser in a closed room since it has a strong smell that can trigger nausea.

The Bottom Line

Tea tree oil is so concentrated that it is capable of crossing the placenta.

It is best to wait to use tea tree oils until you reach your second trimester. Also, avoid the use of tea tree oils during labor to avoid slowing or even ceasing contractions. It is recommended that you discontinue use once you reach 35 weeks gestation.

If you’re having doubts about safety, ask your doctor or healthcare professional their medical opinion before using tea tree oil.

Headshot of Dr. Njoud Jweihan, MD

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Njoud Jweihan, MD

Dr. Njoud Jweihan is a medical doctor in Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for primary care and women’s health. She has over nine years of medical education and training experience. She also enjoys cooking, traveling and is excited to welcome her first child this summer!