Part of coping with the pain of labor is to provide powerful, pleasant stimulation to counteract the pain. Along with massage, dim lights, music and slow deep breathing with relaxation exercises, aromatherapy during labor can be used to help create a mood or enhance relaxation. What are other ways essential oils can be a help during labor?
The Basics About Aromatherapy During Pregnancy
If you would like to use essential oils and aromatherapy during your labor, it is best to start experimenting during your pregnancy. Labor is not always the best time for the expectant mom to introduce unfamiliar scents or even to try to figure out the best way to use them.
Aromatherapy can be a wonderful and versatile labor aide. Many oils have healing, antiseptic (germ killing) and analgesic (pain relieving) properties. Essential oils are so potent that you often need just a drop or two to do the job.
A variety of essential oils can be used in the following ways:
- in the bath – add 2-4 drops to a warm bath
- during a shower – add 1-2 drops into a washcloth, loofah or sponge for an aromatic shower
- in massage oils – a drop is added to a carrier oil before massage
- in a compress – 2-4 drops of essential oil is added to 300 ml (1/2 pint) of water; mix, lay a washcloth on the top and place on the affected part.
- inhaled – 2-4 drops in a pot of hot water, cover with a towel and inhale; or place 1 drop on a tissue and sniff when needed.
- to purity the air or scent a room – place 2-6 drops in a bowl of hot water or use with an atomizer or burner, light bulb ring or cotton ball placed near a radiator.
Best Essential Oils to Use in Labor
There are a variety of essential oils that can be used during labor and birth for various purposes. Some of the best aromatherapy oils for labor include:
Clary Sage – Clary sage is wonderful to enhance relaxation, however, it can make some people sleepy so it works best in a compress rather than in for a massage.
Jasmine – This essential oil works great for a mother who is anxious or needs a lift during labor. Jasmine‘s ability to reduce pain and reduce spasms and increase contraction strength make it one of the best essential oils for labor. One of the best ways to use jasmine is to combine it with lavender for a labor massage.
Lavender – One of the best essential oils for labor, lavender has a calming effect and can relieve headaches. A drop or two of lavender can be added to a rice sock before it is heated in a microwave to make a soothing and aromatic hot pack. Lavender works well to purify a hospital room during labor and birth.
Ylang-ylang – This essential oil also aids relaxation and acts as an antidepressant. Ylang-ylang can even lower blood pressure and may be best used inhaled.
Safety Guidelines When Using Aromatherapy for Labor
Be sure to follow these safety guidelines before using any essential oils during pregnancy or labor:
- If you plan to give birth in the tub (waterbirth), do not put any essential oil in the tub since it can get in the baby’s eyes. Essential oils can be used in the tub or shower in early labor if desired.
- Do not put undiluted essential oils directly on the skin or in the mouth.
- Be sure to read ingredient labels on the bottles of essential oils or carrier oils if you have allergies to fragrances or oils of any type.
- Follow specific recipe guidelines for aromatherapy or consult with a qualified aromatherapist with any questions.