Library
All Topics
Huile d'abricot femmes enceintes

Is apricot vegetable oil not recommended for pregnant women?

Pregnancy is a somewhat restrictive period for women who must closely monitor their diet and lifestyle for their own health and that of their baby. While it is fairly well-known that most essential oils are not recommended for pregnant women, the guidelines vary from one vegetable oil to another. Can apricot oil be used during pregnancy?

Topical Application: A potential use of apricot oil for pregnant women?

The apricot oil is a vegetable oil with an amber colour and a subtle fruity fragrance. Highly appreciated in massage, it provides numerous benefits to the skin and can be used by pregnant women. However, caution is advised if you are breastfeeding: it is not recommended to apply apricot oil to your nipples or any areas of your body that may come into contact with your baby just before holding them. If this is not the case, its regular application throughout pregnancy to the breasts, stomach, thighs and buttocks is recommended to prevent stretch marks. These scar-like streaks are quite common during pregnancy and appear when the structure of the dermis is altered, following a rupture of collagen fibres.

Once established, stretch marks are incredibly difficult to remove, thus the best approach is prevention, and apricot oil can be beneficial for this. Indeed, this vegetable oil has the ability to soften and hydrate the skin due to its high oleic acid content (60-70%). Naturally present in the hydrolipidic film, this unsaturated fatty acid plays a protective role and limits skin dehydration, making it more supple and less prone to stretch marks. Furthermore, the apricot oil contains linoleic acid, an omega-6 that contributes to the cohesion of the stratum corneum. When this layer is strengthened, the skin is more resistant to weight fluctuations and strains. However, despite these properties of apricot oil, it is important to remember that it is not a miracle ingredient. While its application can, to some extent, help prevent stretch marks, it will not be effective against established stretch marks.

Is the ingestion of apricot oil advised against during pregnancy?

At present, there are no studies regarding the potential dangers of ingesting apricot oil for pregnant women. We therefore recommend adhering to the precautionary principle and avoiding consumption of this vegetable oil during pregnancy, due to a lack of evidence regarding its safety for pregnant women and the traces of amygdalin it may contain. Indeed, before its extraction, apricot oil is enclosed within the kernels of the same name fruit. However, these kernels contain amygdalin, an aromatic compound that converts into cyanide after ingestion, under the action of a digestive system enzyme. Cyanide has a very high acute toxicity and can be lethal between 0.5 and 3.5 mg/kg of body weight.

A recent report by ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) revealed that 154 cases of poisoning from bitter apricot kernels occurred between 2012 and 2017. The quantities involved were significant, ranging from 10 to 60 kernels. Regarding apricot kernel oil, there are no known cases of food poisoning, and its consumption in reasonable proportions, that is, between 1 and 3 teaspoons per day, is not dangerous. However, considering the importance of a pregnant woman's diet for the development of their baby and the exchanges via the bloodstream between them, it seems more prudent to avoid consuming apricot oil during pregnancy.

Note : This contraindication does not concern apricots in any way, as their flesh is not in direct contact with the kernel. Rich in vitamins, minerals and fibres, these fruits are excellent for the baby's development and the mother's health.

Sources

  • Vigil'Anses No.5. The Anses vigilance bulletin (June 2018).

  • QADIR R. & al. Cold pressed apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) kernel oil. Cold Pressed Oils (2020).

  • KHANEGHAH A. & al. The potential of apricot seed and oil as functional food: Composition, biological properties, health benefits & safety. Food Bioscience (2023).

Diagnostic

Understand your skin
and its complex needs.