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Aromatherapy in Labour

Sorry about this huge post!!!! :lol:

I have decided to try for as natural a birth as possible, and something that I keep hearing about is the use of essential oils in labour. There are a lot of essential oils that should be avoided in pregnancy, and only small quantities of specific oils should be used at certain points of delivery / after birth. But I have done a lot of reading into it and think it cold be really beneficial in relaxing. And they say if you're calmer in labour then this helps the hormone 'oxytocin' which causes your contractions, therefore you have a shorter and less complicated labour. Sounds perfect in theory!! And As its supposed to help with pain and ease of labour it fits quite well with my idea of homebirth. But you can use it in hospitals on flannels etc instead of oil burners.

Has anyone else used aromatherapy for their labour and after birth? What did use when and do you feel that it helped?

I am going to burn the first 3 oils during labour in an oil burner as well as make up the massage oil below. Then I'll use the Clary sage for after birth only (delivery of placenta) as a compress or on a flannel to inhale. I want the gas and air for the labour!!!

Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia or Lavandula officinalis). A versatile oil which can be emotionally calming, sedating and relaxing in labour. It can help regulate contractions and is also a good antiseptic. It is also reported that the oil acts as a painkiller that stimulates circulation and healing. (N.B. Some manufacturers recommend that you do not use lavender during pregnancy)

Camomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is an anti-inflammatory. It can calm and soothe emotions, tension and anxiety.

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) is useful in cases of hyperventilation as it slows and deepens breathing. It can calm anxiety and is useful for asthmatics.

Clary Sage (salvia sclarea). One of the oils you are strongly advised to stay away from during your pregnancy due to its labour inducing properties. It can strengthen contractions during labour and after birth and can help ease stress, tension and anxiety. It is an anti-spasmodic oil so can relieve cramp. Many say it is a good substitute for gas and air, but it is not recommended for use with gas and air. It is often used after labour to deliver the placenta.

Suggested massage oil for labour (which I am going to make)

30mls carrier oil (such as sunflower, sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil)

4 drops lavender

2 drops roman chamomile

2 drops frankincense


  • Lavender is definitely a risk as it is a relaxing oil, it makes you drowsy, and whilst it can relieve headaches for some it can cause them for others.

    My best reccommendations are chamomile for relaxtion and jasmine is a wonder (either in a cold compress or massage oil lightly over your bump). Jasmine is much the same as clary sage for period cramps, it takes the edge of the contraction/cramps and will leave you calmer.

    Hope this helps.
  • Ok, from my aromatherapy guide book it advises a jasmine or rose massage oil to be massaged gently into your back aiding contractions and pain relief and giving pleasing aroma (of course these 2 oils are also most costly). To help relax everybody 2-3 drops of lavender or chamomile in room burner or vaporiser will help to cleanse the air and calm the nerves.

    Post natal - bathing once or twice a day with lavender or chamomile will help soothe bruised/delicate areas and help ward any infections (if BFing use half diluted as it will absorb through skin and into breast milk).
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