Essential Oils for Labor and Delivery
During my last pregnancy I started using essential oils to calm my moods and to help fight the depression I was feeling during pregnancy. I really got into learning as much as I could about Essential Oils and how they could benefit me. I am constantly amazed at the ways they are able to help both physically and emotionally.
I was introduced to the idea of using oils during pregnancy by my aunt who bought me a book all about essential oils in pregnancy. I did some more searching and came up with these great ways to use essential oils for labor, delivery, and postpartum.
Safety Note: Always dilute essential oils, especially when you are pregnant or breastfeeding, for children and the elderly, or if you have any health condition. For an immediate, acute, and emergent situation a 25% essential oil ratio can be warranted, but essential oils are powerful substances and a little bit goes a long way. A 1% dilution is usually all that is needed to see the effects of the essential oil, and when you are breastfeeding, it is the most cautious root to take. Always consult a medical professional before making any medical decisions and do your own research, and come to your own conclusions about what will work best for your self and your family.
*This is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your doctor or midwife before continuing with any course of treatment. Many of these oils are not safe to use until you are in labor. Check your safety information if you choose to use them before you are actually having the baby. The oils that are safe to use during pregnancy are marked with a * symbol.*
To Calm and focus mother
Lavender and Chamomile are calming, soothing and relaxing to mom, helping her focus on the task at hand and relieving tension and stress.
Increase Energy during labor
Peppermint* EO diffused or added to water and applied with a wash cloth to the back of the neck will give mamma a much-needed energy boost and help cool her down during labor. Peppermint can reduce breathing rate in sensitive babies, so don’t use this if mom is past 8 cm so it can dissipate before baby is born.
To relieve pain
Frankincense* helps to reduce pain. Rub a few drops on your back or abdomen (wherever it hurts) for some wonderful pain relief. I use frankincense as my go to for all sorts of pain, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding where medications could affect my babies.
Clary Sage is known to reduce pain and increase circulation.
Lavender* is a great relaxing scent that has analgesic properties. I kept a crock pot by the bed on low with about 20 wash cloths in it covered in water with 15-20 drops of lavender. Have your birth attendant or partner wring out a wash cloth and put it on your belly during every contraction. The warmth combined with the lavender is very soothing and distracting helping to reduce pain and relieve stress. As soon as it cools replace with a new cloth.
Apply Rose or Frankincense* as described above.
To Induce or speed up labor
*Do not attempt to induce labor without the medical consent of your doctor or midwife after 40 weeks of pregnancy. Baby needs those last few weeks to develop.*
Clary Sage is a uterine tonic and is known to cause more effective contractions. Put a drop or two on each of your ankles to encourage a healthy labor.
Myrrh increases the strength of contractions. Add a few drops to a cotton ball to sniff as needed or rub 1-3 drops onto abdomen with a carrier oil.
The scent of Myrrh on a cotton ball placed near the mothers face can get stalled labor going again. Put the ball near her pillow, on the side bar of the bed, on the side of the tub, anywhere where she can easily benefit from the aroma.
Peppermint* Apply diluted to back and hips (where the pain is strongest) with a carrier oil. I can not tell you how amazing this was when I was having back labor. It is honestly a god-send.
Breech or posterior position
Breech: Apply Peppermint essential oil with a carrier to the top of the belly and rub around the top curve of the belly making a rainbow.
Posterior: Apply Peppermint essential oil with a carrier to the lower back.
To Avoid or minimize tearing
Combine Geranium and Frankincense* with 1 tsp carrier oil (evening primrose oil would work well here) a few weeks before your due date with perineal massage. For the first stage of labor mix 5 drops Clary Sage with 2 drops Geranium with 2 tbsp carrier oil. Massage the perineum hourly. Geranium and Helichrysum EO’s are great to use on your perineum during delivery to prevent trauma and tearing. It also prevents swelling as the baby descends the birth canal. Use a few drops of each with carrier oil on the perineum during delivery. Place a warm wash cloth with a drop of ginger over the oil after application. This will relax the tissue, reduce pain and swelling, and ease the final steps of labor.
I honestly can not tell you how helpful these oils were during labor. They helped me physically and emotionally with the progress of labor, stalling, increasing contraction frequency and strength, and relieving the intense pain I was having in my back and hips. These oils were a real life saver.
Did you use any natural methods to improve your labor experience or to decrease pain? Did you use any essential oils? What was your experience?
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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