An assortment of essential oils
Pregnancy & Postpartum

Oil Pulling In First Trimester

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As someone who has experienced horrible morning sickness in the first trimester with both pregnancies, I learned that even brushing my teeth could push my gag reflexes over the edge.  

With my first pregnancy it was so bad that on a few occasions trying to brush my teeth ended with me puking into the toilet.  

My mouth felt disgusting all the time and my gums were getting sensitive.

I read about oil pulling and decided to give it a try. After all, I had nothing to lose.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is a technique used to improve oral health that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for up to twenty minutes. (Wow! I never did more than 5 but if you can work your way up to longer, that’s great!)

According to the ancient practice, the oil “pulls” toxins out of your body improving your overall health as well as cleaning your mouth. Pretty awesome!

Here’s a really good article that goes more in depth about the history and benefits of oil pulling and how it works if you want more details.

Oil pulling with coconut oil has amazing health benefits and is a great way for women with morning sickness to get their mouth extra clean when brushing makes you gag!

What Happened

I committed to try oil pulling once a day for a week and see what happened and how I felt. I used organic coconut oil and started with about a teaspoon the first day. I felt the least nauseous in the mornings after breakfast and so that was when I decided to do my daily oil pulling, although it can be done at any time. (I know. Ironically, my morning sickness has always been the worst at night.)

The first day I made a huge mistake. I didn’t warm the oil up first and figured I would be fine letting the coconut oil kind of “melt” in my mouth before swishing. Ya know, chew it up a little.

The texture was too much to handle and I had to spit it out immediately to keep myself from throwing up as I gagged. I couldn’t muster the heart to try again that day.

If you have ever had morning sickness, you know what I’m talking about.

Day two came and I was prepared this time! I started again with a small spoonful of slightly warmed coconut oil and to my surprise, I swished without feeling sick at all. My cheeks may not have had the muscle tone to swish for more than three minutes but I felt great afterwards.

Placebo effect or not, my mouth really felt clean and I enjoyed swishing with the oil so much more than a harsh mouthwash filled with alcohol and chemicals.  

The next few days I continued oil pulling in the morning, and learned I could swish much longer if I didn’t swish QUITE so vigorously as I had the first day. I swished about a tablespoon for 5 minutes every day.


The most obvious result was that by end of the week I noticed a big improvement with my gums. They were feeling less tender and sensitive and overall looked healthier!

The best result, however, was that after a few days the oil-pulling seemed to help my morning sickness be a little lighter for longer! I could usually go a couple of hours after breakfast before feeling incredibly nauseous. With the oil-pulling I was feeling better until the late afternoon!

Timing or coincidence could be playing a factor here, sure. But at the end of the day, I was just really thankful to have a gentle way to freshen my breath that didn’t end with me puking in the toilet.

(And whiten my teeth, too!)


If you are struggling with brushing your teeth due to morning sickness, pregnancy gingivitis, or just looking for a natural way to improve your overall oral health – I’d definitely recommend giving oil pulling a try!

It supplemented my oral care routine once a day in my first trimester when I needed it to (I still brushed as often as I could, but it just honestly wasn’t an option sometimes) and left my mouth feeling better and me feeling better about myself. Plus, no toxins for Mom or baby! 

Here’s a few last tips to get you started:

-Use organic coconut oil.

-Start slow (just a few minutes and don’t swish too hard!)

-Spit the oil into the trash when you are done to avoid clogging the sink.

-Continue to brush and floss your teeth as normally as you can.

-And my personal favorite, add a drop of cinnamon essential oil or spearmint essential oil to your coconut oil before swishing to make the flavor better and give it an added antimicrobial benefit.

Happy swishing!

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