As you are preparing your labor and delivery bag, you may want to consider packing some essential oils for labor. Here are the best eight essential oils for labor and delivery to help ease labor pain and even induce labor!
Aromatherapy for Labor
Having a baby is a big deal.
For nine months, you’ve been carrying this tiny person inside of you, doing everything you can to be ready to bring them into this world. And that’s great! But it’s also important that you don’t forget to take care of yourself during your pregnancy – especially during the labor and delivery process.
Labor can be hard, and while a lot of people still opt for an epidural, natural birthing processes are becoming more and more popular. If you want to avoid medications, or if you just want to have a more comfortable delivery, you might want to consider using essential oils.
I don’t use essential oils a lot personally (the only ones I can handle is this kid’s roll-on line), but I know that a lot of people have used them for just about everything – including labor and delivery. Even though I haven’t used them for labor and delivery myself, I believe in sharing information that all pregnant women can benefit from, including those who like and use essential oils.
So, I decided to do a little research and, all in all, using aromatherapy during labor and delivery sounds like it might be worth trying!
No advice in this post can be taken as medical advice. Always discuss anything you plan to use with your birth care provider.
Table of contents
Before Using Essential Oils
If you want to use essential oils during your labor and delivery, there are a few things you need to do before the contractions begin:
- Keep in mind that using essential oils for labor and delivery is only recommended for healthy, low-risk pregnancies. If you’re having multiples, having a C-section, or know of any health risks ahead of time, odds are you won’t be able to use your oils.
- Sniff the oils you want to use before going to the hospital. Your senses can change a lot during pregnancy, so oils that you liked before may not smell so great to you anymore. You don’t want to take any oils that will make you feel nauseous on top of everything else.
- If you are delivering at a hospital, check to make sure they will let you use oils during your labor and delivery. Most hospitals will be okay with it, but some have a “no scent” policy that won’t let you use any type of scented item. If you’re delivering at a birthing center, they may be more likely to let you use aromatherapy.
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Finding the Right Essential Oils Company
While researching for this post, I was amazed to find out how many essential oil companies are out there! They all seem great, and I think it’s important that you try out your options to decide which company is best for you. The company I chose to go with is Rocky Mountain Oils, for many reasons. One of the top reasons is its commitment to sustainability, quality, and purity.
I know a lot of bigger essential oils companies try to cut corners with the source or quality of their oils to help lower prices, but I don’t think that quality is something you should sacrifice, especially if considering using them during your birth experience.
Rocky Mountain Oils is willing to make the hard decisions and do the extra work to make sure their oils come from trusted sources and are 100% pure.
This is especially important for me because I have two little boys running around the house, and I want to make sure any products I use are going to be safe for them and myself. Using chemical-free products is also important during pregnancy because they can assure safety for you and your baby throughout those long nine months.
Best Aromatherapy for Labor
Essential Oils to Use for Labor and Delivery
Once you’ve talked to the hospital or birthing center about using oils, it’s time to pick which ones you want to take with you. During my research, I noticed that there are a lot of different oils people have used to help with their labor and delivery – which is great! But, to help keep things simple, I’m going to list some of the top eight oils that I found people use the most.
Before using oils, it’s important to remember that oils may work differently for others than they do for you. If you want to make sure the oil works as you’d like, you can test it out before going to the hospital.
Frankincense is a calming oil that can be really great to use when you’re getting close to the end of the first stage of labor. To help stay calm, you can inhale it from the bottle, or put a drop on each of your palms and inhale when you’re feeling a little anxious. Frankincense also helps relieve pain – and who doesn’t want that during delivery? Just rub the oil on your belly, pelvis, lower back, or any other painful spot for a soothing, cooling effect.
Another great benefit of Frankincense is that can help prevent and heal any tearing that may occur during delivery. For me, the hardest part of labor and delivery was the recovery, and if you have a torn perineum, it can be extremely uncomfortable, to stay the least. By regularly applying Frankincense several weeks prior to delivery and directly after, you can heal faster or avoid tearing all together!
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- Clary Sage
Clary sage is another great oil to help minimize any tearing that may occur during delivery. Not only that, but clary sage is known for its ability to induce and help with contractions.
With that said, do NOT use clary sage unless you have talked with your doctor and are ready to give birth. If you get the OK from your doctor, just put a couple of drops on your inner ankles.
You can also dilute the oil with a carrier oil and rub it on your skin over your reproductive organs, or put a drop on each palm and inhale the aroma between contractions.
When we see shows or comics about giving birth, there’s often a moment when the mother becomes irritated with the pain she’s experiencing and yells, “You did this to me!” to her husband. If you’ve done this before, or if you want to make sure you don’t do this, use clary sage. Just inhaling its scent can help you feel more relaxed and encouraged during the birthing process.
Labor and delivery can turn you into a hot and exhausted mess – especially when you’re in labor for hours on end. The solution? Peppermint essential oil. If you’ve ever used a menthol muscle rub, that’s what peppermint feels like – only better.
To use peppermint oil, mix with a carrier oil and massage into any area that feels sore. If you’re feeling hot with all that pushing, you can rub peppermint and carrier oil on your forehead to help cool you down.
Peppermint is also great for helping you stay awake during labor. Obviously, you’re not going to fall asleep while pushing, but you’ll definitely get tired. When this happens, all you need to do is inhale the oil by sniffing the bottle, and you can get the energy boost you need to keep going!
Once you finish with your delivery, the nurses are going to have you go to the bathroom to make sure you can go without any issues. If you can’t go, you’ll probably get a catheter, and trust me – you don’t want a catheter.
If you’re shy about going on command, or to help make sure you avoid the catheter, start by drinking lots of water and adding a few drops of peppermint into the toilet water. That way, when you go, the peppermint will help you relax and go easier.
Just a note: peppermint essential oil can be great to use during delivery, but if you plan on breastfeeding your baby, a lot of people suggest avoiding it. Peppermint can affect your milk supply, which isn’t great for breastfeeding.
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Labor is intense enough as it is, but if you’re experiencing stalled labor, it can seem like it’s taking forever. If you are stalled, put a few drops of myrrh on a cotton ball and take a few breaths of the aroma. This can help increase contractions and move the labor process along.
After your baby is delivered, the doctor will need to cut the umbilical cord. If there’s an issue with the umbilical cord stump, or if you want to just help the cord fall off faster, just one drop of myrrh on the umbilical cord can do the trick. Applying myrrh to the umbilical cord can also help the site heal faster.
If you’re looking for a way to relax more during labor and delivery, you need lavender essential oil. Giving birth is exciting, but it can get a little stressful or chaotic in the room as nurses and doctors tell you what to do.
Then, the reality of what’s happening sinks in, and you may start feeling a little nervous about the whole birthing process. To help you – and the birth team – stay calm, diffuse some lavender in your room for at least 20 to 30 minutes before labor begins.
Diffusing lavender can also help lower your blood pressure and heart rate, which helps you fight against any level of stress.
When you give birth, there are a lot of different fluids coming out of your body. I don’t mean to scare anyone, but it’s true, and with the fluids often comes a series of different smells.
Not only that, but it’s pretty common for women to get nauseous or to throw up during labor. If that happens to you, it’s totally normal.
But, if you can avoid nausea or vomiting, it can help everything go a lot smoother. That’s where lemon essential oil comes in.
Lemon is great for soothing the nerves and calming the stomach. If you feel nauseous, or to just help you avoid getting nauseous in the first place, just put a few drops of lemon into the bottle cap, or on a cotton ball, and inhale the scent when you can.
If your husband feels a little queasy, too, it might be good for him to take a few deep breaths of lemon.
Lemon is also a great antiseptic, which means it can help clean and purify the air. If you diffuse lemon, you can help get rid of some of the smells that may be lingering around in your room either during delivery or after.
First off, I think it’s important that you know that rose essential oil is one of the most expensive oils out there. This is mostly because it takes so many roses to make a single bottle of oil – 10,000 roses, in fact, for just a 5mL bottle!
But, if you’re willing to pay the price, rose essential oil can be a great help during labor and delivery.
Rose oil contains flavonoids and kaempferol, which are natural anti-depressant chemicals. By diffusing rose oil, you can feel more relaxed and comfortable, and more positive about the whole birthing procedure. Rose is also a powerful stimulant, and breathing in its aroma can help you get rid of fatigue or exhaustion during delivery.
Note: Do not use rose oil in blends if you are breastfeeding or during your pregnancy. Only use as directed by your doctor during the labor and delivery procedures.
Between the contractions, pushing, and postpartum contractions, labor and delivery can be a painful and generally uncomfortable experience.
While hospitals have pain medication and epidurals to help make you more comfortable, you’re still going to experience some degree of discomfort. To help ease any remaining discomfort you feel, try using marjoram essential oil.
If you experience cramps during labor, dilute the oil with a carrier oil and rub it on your lower abdomen. You can do the same thing if you experience cramps after delivery, especially when you start nursing.
Rubbing marjoram on your lower abdomen will help relax the muscles and ease delivery or postpartum cramps.
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Diluting Essential Oils During Pregnancy
If you’re new to essential oils like me, one of the biggest questions you may have is ‘How do I use my oils?’ One of the most common uses of essential oils is to rub them directly on your skin, however this could be harmful.
However, during my research, I found that the majority of essential oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied to the skin.
A carrier oil is a nut or seed oil, like almond oil, that helps essential oils absorb into your skin better. Diluting essential oils is important because essential oils are extremely potent and concentrated. If they are not diluted, they can cause skin irritations or other issues.
It’s especially important to dilute essential oils while you’re pregnant to avoid the essential oils crossing over into the placenta and affecting the baby. The recommended pregnancy dilution rate is 1% or less. A simple way to do this is to add 1 drop of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of carrier oil.
As for where to apply the essential oil, the bottom of your feet is a great place, especially during pregnancy. The skin at the bottom of your feet is thicker and is the farthest away from mucous membranes, which makes it safer and more effective for pregnant women. You can also apply some oils to the temples or lower pack for pain relief.
If you’re nervous about applying essential oils to your skin while pregnant, you can use an essential oil diffuser which releases a fine diluted mist of your chosen oil into the air. Here are some excellent essential oil diffusers to check out.
Note: Some essential oils should be avoided during certain stages of pregnancy or throughout the entire pregnancy. Be sure to consult with your doctor before using any essential oils to make sure they are safe for you to use.
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- Surviving Labor and Delivery: What to Expect
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.