Are you struggling with morning sickness during pregnancy and seeking relief without resorting to medication? Essential oils might be the solution you’re looking for. These potent plant extracts can be a gentle and natural way to alleviate nausea and discomfort during this precious (but sometimes grueling) time.

A lot of people wonder why pregnancy nausea is called morning sickness. When it doesn’t only come on in the mornings, but for some people all day long! For some it may be a symptom that shows up in the evenings when fatigue levels are high. And unfortunately for some, nausea and vomiting can continue throughout the whole pregnancy, not just in the first trimester as we are led to believe is “normal”.

Statistics show that around half to two-thirds of all pregnant women will experience morning sickness to some degree, particularly in the first trimester ( For most women, morning sickness begins around the fourth week of pregnancy and resolves by around 12-16 weeks.

Severe morning sickness is known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), and can affect around one in 1000 pregnant women. The symptoms of HG include repeated vomiting, weight loss and dehydration. Treatment usually involves hospitalisation, and the administering of intravenous liquids and nutrition.

Possible causes of morning sickness.

The cause of morning sickness remains a mystery, but it is thought a combination of physical and metabolic factors play a significant role, including:

  • increased levels of hormones, including oestrogen
  • blood pressure fluctuations, particularly low blood pressure
  • altered metabolism of carbohydrates
  • the enormous physical and chemical changes that happen during pregnancy
  • fatigue and stress also play a part in exacerbating symptoms

I distinctly remember that feeling of nausea and overwhelming fatigue in both my pregnancies. Fortunately, it mostly disappeared around 16 weeks. There are lots of possible remedies and recommendations to help alleviate symptoms. It can be very individual with each person finding what works for them (and this may change week to week!).

These are the things I found useful for combating nausea and fatigue:

  • Essential oils, in particular lemon and ginger
  • Acupuncture treatments
  • Eating almonds before bedtime
  • Tea or soda water with fresh lemon and ginger
  • Rest! a lot more difficult during my second pregnancy of course ☹

Essential oils for morning sickness.

Fortunately, there’s quite a bit of research on essential oils for nausea relief. Some studies on the effect of essential oils on nausea and vomiting relate to other situations such as post-op or chemotherapy patients, but we can extrapolate these findings to pregnancy nausea.

Here, I’m going to discuss the essential oils that have been shown to be effective in managing pregnancy nausea.

Lemon (Citrus limon)

Lemon essential oil has the most evidence behind it as a remedy for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. A simple remedy is to put a drop on a tissue and inhale as needed. If you don’t have Lemon essential oil grate some rind from a fresh lemon, pop it into a small container and inhale from that.

Lemon’s fresh, invigorating scent can also provide a much-needed boost of energy while easing nausea.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Ginger has a long-standing reputation for easing digestive issues, including nausea. Inhaling ginger essential oil or applying it topically can alleviate morning sickness symptoms. Anecdotal evidence shows ginger provides nausea relief and one study showed it reduced nausea and vomiting by around  43.6%.

Ginger is also a great tonic so can be useful for associated fatigue.

Ginger essential oil can be produced by steam distillation or CO2 extraction. The CO2 extract smells much more like fresh ginger and is the one I prefer to use.

Peppermint (Mentha piperata)

The refreshing, cooling scent of peppermint can help settle your stomach and alleviate feelings of queasiness. Nurse researchers in the US developed a peppermint inhaler for post-op patients with 93% of study participants reporting its effectiveness within 2minutes. These have since been used with success in other instances of nausea and vomiting, including pregnancy.

With a heightened sense of smell, some women find the scent of peppermint a bit too strong. Spearmint can be a gentler alternative.

Lavender (Lavanadula angustifolia)

Morning sickness symptoms can be exacerbated by stress, anxiety and fatigue. The calming properties of lavender can be useful to help reduce stress and improve sleep patterns. Some people find it also reduces feelings of nausea.

Mandarin and Sweet Orange are also great essential oils for calming digestive issues and alleviating stress and anxiety. Mother Nurture’s Tummy Calm essential oil blend contains essential oils of Lemon, Mandarin, Ginger CO2 extract and Spearmint. This tried-and-true remedy was originally created as a Morning Sickness blend and has been in my toolkit for many years. However, due to its usefulness for all tummy upsets such as wind, constipation, reflux and diarrhoea it got a name change a few years ago.

Which essential oil is best for nausea and morning sickness symptoms?

At the end of the day, you need to choose a scent that appeals to you. This can be especially difficult with smell aversions during pregnancy. I find citrus oils are well tolerated by most people, so this is usually a good pace to start.

What are the best ways to use essential oils for morning sickness & fatigue? 

  • 6 drops in a diffuser during the day as needed; or diffuse overnight to help enhance sleep and lessen early morning nausea
  • 1-2 drops on a tissue and inhale as needed (or try an aroma-inhaler)
  • An aroma roll-on or massage oil mix – apply to pulse points through the day or over solar plexus region (just below sternum) before bed at night.
  • Massage around your lower back to help combat fatigue

Click here for more information on how to use pure essential oils safely. NEVER ingest essential oils or apply undiluted to the skin.

I hope these suggestions are helpful. If not for yourself, maybe share with someone you know who is struggling with pregnancy nausea. It can be so debilitating.


Would you like to explore more personalised aromatherapy options to help you navigate the ups and downs of pregnancy? Book in for a aromatherapy consultation with me.


🍃 Would you like to explore more personalised aromatherapy options to help you navigate the ups and downs of pregnancy? Click here to schedule an aromatherapy consultation and feel better. 🍃