What You Need to Know About Using Tea Tree Oil During Pregnancy

Have you been wondering if you could implement tea tree oils into your daily routine while pregnant? You love the idea of jumping on the essential oils bandwagon, but are you worried about whether it’s safe?

Tea tree oils can possibly help you relieve problems associated with pregnancy. There are so many medications or supplements you have to avoid because of safety reasons, so finding a helpful solution can be difficult.

Educating yourself about tea tree oils before beginning use is important. Pregnancy is one of the greatest journeys you will take in your life, so be cautious when you select a product. Tea tree oil can help you see results, but it is important you use it properly.

Why Should You Use Tea Tree Oil?

Pregnancy can be a scary journey that leaves you questioning every substance you want near or in your body. There are so many products that have risks associated with pregnancy, so it can be a struggle to find one that makes you feel comfortable about its safety and helpfulness.

Tea tree oils are not synthetically created, they are natural. Many moms jump on the idea of using tea tree oils simply because of their natural foundation — however, natural doesn’t always mean safe.

Take Note

Another thing to 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 (source).
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Tea Tree Oil Benefits

There are many benefits associated with tea tree oils because of its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Tea tree oils can help balance oil production and unblock sebaceous glands of the skin (source).

Some of the most common uses for tea tree oil include:

  • Acne.
  • Congestion.
  • Cold sores.
  • Respiratory tract infection.
  • Dandruff.
  • Nail fungus.

Pregnancy causes your hormones to go crazy, which can lead to acne. Many pregnant women use tea tree oils to help fight acne during pregnancy. These oils can also be used to fight congestion or respiratory tract infections.

If you are one of the unfortunate women battling acne during your pregnancy, rather that that motherly glow you’ve heard so much about, you may want to consider the use of tea tree oil as an option. Many expectant mothers have seen results with this essential oil.

Take Note

Before deciding to use it, please read the next section so you can determine if any possible risks are worth the benefits to you.

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.

That being said, if you use this product correctly, it should be safe. But if you stray from the instructions, there could be consequences for your baby.


It is important to note mothers 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 (source).

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 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.

Tea tree oil should never be applied to your skin in 100 percent concentration unless it is being used to treat nail fungus. A daily application of only 5 percent is needed daily to treat acne (source).

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

As you can see, some of the typical 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.

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 the 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.

There is little scientific research out there on the safety of tea tree oil in pregnancy, mostly because no one will knowingly submit a large group of pregnant women to a substance like this in a clinical trial. For this reason, you may want to rely on the advice of a midwife or herbalist who has used tea tree oil in pregnancy so as to get the best advice as to how to use it safely.

Headshot of Christine, Traxler, MD, BS

Editor's Note:

Christine Traxler, MD, BS

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. I 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.

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

The Bottom Line

Tea tree oil can effectively help treat acne during pregnancy, and it can also help treat dandruff. It is best to dilute the product before use to lower potential risks.

The tea tree oil is so concentrated that it is capable of crossing the placenta. If you are sure to use the appropriate concentrations and applications of the oil, then you should see little to no complications.

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. It is recommended that you discontinue use once you reach 35 weeks gestation.

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

What is your opinion regarding tea tree oils and pregnancy? Would you use them? Leave your opinion in the comments section below. If you liked this article, please give it a share.

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