Are Scented Candles Safe in Pregnancy? Let’s Find Out…

Most of my friends are fond of using home fragrance products. It’s probably the passion of liking the same things that brought people together. Are scented candles safe in pregnancy has been a concern of a friend who recently got pregnant. She was wondering whether she was being over protective and cautious. I assured her that she wasn’t!

Wanting to do what is right for your health and that of your baby’s, even before it is born is something natural, instinctive and commendable. 

When it comes to burning scented candles during pregnancy, it’s important to consider a few factors to ensure safety your safety and that of the fetus.

Also Check Out: Home Fragrance Products & Scented Candles Safe for Babies (Or Not)  

Candles’ Ingredients  and their Safety in Pregnancy

Paraffin wax scented candles are made from residue acquired from oil refineries. This residue is is the byproduct left during the oil and petroleum refinement procedures. It comprises harmful chemicals like toluene & benzene, which are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carcinogenic in nature. The constant exposure to these substances may have a detrimental impact on the health of both the mother and the developing fetus. It is important to note that paraffin based candles emit chemicals in their unlit state.

Moreover, the wicks in scented candles are made of lead so as to help the wicks stay firm. But these lead based wicks also emit unsafe amounts of lead fumes when lit. High levels of lead fumes, when inhaled or ingested, causes hormonal imbalance, behavioral issues, learning impairment, etc.  Although, lead-based wicks are no longer used in scented candle makers in recognition of this potential impact of lead from onwards, it is worth being aware of the potential dangers regarding are scented candles bad for pregnancy.

That’s not all, many scented candles may contain synthetic fragrances or additives that could be harmful for pregnant women. They may experience respiratory issues or cause an adverse reaction.

Australian Government’s Department of Health and Aged Care website lists common household things like paints, cleaning products, mosquito repellent, arsenic based products, Naphthalene containing products like moth balls even nail polish as harmful for  mothers to be and fetus.

While this website doesn’t identify scented candles as a potential threat to pregnant women, it states that things comprising harmful chemicals can enter a pregnant woman’s bloodstream via touch or inhalation and can reach the fetus. They may remain in the bloodstream of the mother and can be passed on to the newborn baby through breastfeeding.

As a result, these unsafe chemicals can cause congenital birth defects and a host of other health issues in infants such as asthma.

On the other hand, Green America tells pregnant women specifically lists paraffin wax and gel based scented candles as harmful for pregnant women and advises them to avoid burning these candles altogether.

Scented Candles Can Trigger Allergies and Sensitivities

Pregnancy can make women more sensitive to certain smells and potential irritants in the air. Pregnant women are surprised to discover that they are unable to tolerate certain smells in pregnancy.
Some scented candles might trigger allergies, nausea, migraine or mild discomfort due to the heightened sense of smell during pregnancy. For those suffering from similar issues, it is best to choose mildly scented candles or even consider going for unscented candles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What candles are safe for pregnancy?

Candles that are made from natural wax like soy, beeswax and coconut wax, comprising cotton wicks and pure essential oils are safe to be used during pregnancy.

Which candle fragrances are beneficial during pregnancy?

Due to their highly soothing properties, jasmine and lavender candles are beneficial during pregnancy.

Are Yankee candles safe in pregnancy?

Yankee candles are made from paraffin wax; hence, it is better to avoid them and other candle brands that use paraffin wax during pregnancy.

Which scented candle can help in inducing labor?

While scented candles have no direct impact on starting labor or labor pain, clary sage and lavender scented candles can be burnt during the early stages of labor to alternate between contraction and relaxation and one help progress towards delivery.

Soy Candles Might be Safe in Pregnancy (For Some)

For pregnant women, soy-based candles can be a better and safer choice because soy wax burn cleaner and emit lower levels of soot and toxins. Same goes for candles made from vegetable wax and beeswax, sourced from nature and hence, non-toxic.

Beeswax candles have a natural and pleasant fragrance, which can prove to be very calming and soothing for some women who are finding it hard to stay relaxed in pregnancy.

Staying relaxed and stress-free during pregnancy is not only crucial for fetal health and behavior, but it would also positively impact OB, child birth and post pregnancy recovery. On the other hand, high stress levels can have negative health implications for the pregnant woman and the fetus, some of which are:  high blood pressure increasing the risk of preeclampsia, premature birth, miscarriage and low weight at birth.

Pregnancy Bath and Candles

Fewer things can be as relaxing a warm bubble bath and long soak in the bath tub for a pregnant woman. A warm bath can soothe away pain and discomfort experienced during the last trimester. For instance, an article associated with parenthood on Healthline has discussed how a bath in a tub containing epsom salt, coupled with a few candles and relaxing music can be the best gift to give your body during the last few days of the pregnancy.

My Final Thoughts

Pregnancy and parenthood help us prioritize and make choices that are in our best interest and that new life we are about to bring to the world. Are scented candles safe while pregnant, is a natural concern for a woman who has just discovered that she is pregnant. In this respect, soy wax or beeswax candles are considered a safer and non toxic aromatherapy option for pregnant women as compared to paraffin wax candles.

However, every one’s pregnancy might be different from others. If, for some reason, you feel that your favorite candle burning ritual is not agreeing with your pregnancy, you should avoid burning candles it until the baby is born.

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