Pregnancy 101

Unsolicited Pregnancy Advice, Examined

People love to give pregnant women advice, but their good intentions are often uninformed. Here, experts explain what's true, and what's not.

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Don't smell anything scented, it will make you go into labor!

Apparently, smelling some essential oils—e.g., lemongrass, peppermint, and rosemary—used in aromatherapy has been purported to be dangerous for pregnant women. Therefore, massage therapists tend to use scent-free oils during prenatal massages. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy suggests using well-diluted oils such as chamomile, jasmine, and lavender.

As with the foot rub question, none of the OBs I surveyed gave this any credence. My own doctor said that smelling these things might make me throw up, but that was about it.

The bottom line: Sniff away. Of course, if you plan to ingest any medicinal herbs or oils during pregnancy, I would run it past an OB first.

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