Since my first pregnancy in 2000 I've read about the many things a pregnant woman should stay away from because it could possibly harm the growing baby. Herbals in the form of teas and essential oils have taken the worst hit due to the bad press about over consumption of certain herbals, using oils in a baby's bath, and the intermixing of herbals with doctor prescribed medication.
The bad press started back in early 2000 due to a woman reporting stomach problems to her doctor. Her condition worsened and became serious and they had attributed it to her over consumption of herbal teas, particularly St. John's Wart. An article about the precautions of taking St. John's Wart is here: http://altmedicine.about.com/od/stjohnswort/a/stjohnswort.htm. The negativity gained new vigor with a rather recent finding of sterility in infant boys using lavender.
The lavender study is small and according to Live Strong, the possibility of lavender being the culprit of infertility is minimal http://www.livestrong.com/article/171036-lavender-oil-male-hormones/. The article only hints the reader at steering clear of lavender when trying to conceive which leads me to believe that there needs to be much further testing on the subject.
Essential oils for a pregnant woman in her first trimester are a different story, however, according to What to Expect and Live Strong http://www.livestrong.com/article/160187-lavender-oil-pregnancy/. Lavender may possibly cause a miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy which is why it is recommended to avoid it until later trimesters where it is considered safe to use.
Many other essential oils are safe to use in your second and third trimester and a gal on the What to Expect message boards was kind enough to list them. http://www.whattoexpect.com/forums/what-to-expect-general-message-board/archives/bath-salts-essential-oils-while-pregnant.html.
Though I agree with her due to my own research into herbs, it is always best to consult your doctor before using anything because even though these herbs are considered safe by themselves, it may be a different story for you personally if you use them in concentrated amounts or with medications. Please, please consult your physician before using any product containing herbs because they are still not regulated by the US federal government.
It is important to note that most things in moderation, including herbs and spices you consume in teas and foods, are safe. But it's always better to be safe than sorry. You know your body, and so does the little one inside you. Listen to your body. If you experience nausea at the sight or smell of something, it may not be just a pregnancy symptom, it may very well be your body alerting you to stay away from that particular food, cleaning product, or drink. I truly believe that.
A funny thing happened to me the other day which reminded me of my pregnancy "alarm". My husband had come home from work and had a White Russian. It's not completely common place for him to have a drink every night, but alcohol is not completely banned from this house either. In fact, I've been known to indulge in a glass of wine on occasion myself. After he had his drink he had joined me in bed and I could smell the alcohol on his breath. It was completely nauseating and I had to roll over on the poor guy.
Now for obvious reasons, alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy just like certain other things. I honestly believe that my nausea kicked in because of my pregnancy "alarm". Call me crazy if you'd like, but I don't think I'm wrong. I believe our bodies are capable of some pretty fantastic things and I believe this is one of them.
Love and friendship,