Essential oils have been around a very long time, but not everyone knows what the benefits are or if they are truly safe to use in pregnancy and labor. Today's post will hopefully give you some helpful information so that you can begin to do some of your own research.
***A quick disclaimer: I do not hold any medical credentials. Any and all information I provide in this blog post is my personal opinion based on my own experience with oils and study on the safe usage of essential oils in labor. I strongly encourage all women to do their own research and learn how oils might benefit them personally, but ALWAYS discuss with your healthcare provider before attempting to use them in labor and make sure that your place of birth allows you to bring them, use them, or diffuse as well. (I have had several clients use them in the hospital, and each time the medical staff was very pleased to enjoy these aromas in the room, but always ask permission first!). Equally important is the quality of the oil you are using. I only recommend using 100% pure, therapeutic grade oils. (This is what I use and why.) Yes, you will pay a little more, but it's worth it to have the quality and know the integrity of the oil you are using! I also recommend diffusing the oils over applying topically to the body. If you choose to apply topically, it is very important to dilute as instructed, and again, be sure you have permission from your provider and have done your own research. There are some oils that are NOT safe in pregnancy, in labor, while nursing, etc. so you must educate yourself. Another very important thing: Please make sure you test the oils on your skin BEFORE labor to be sure that you do not have any kind of adverse skin reaction. Lastly, if anyone has applied oils to your chest during labor and you are planning on doing skin to skin after baby is born, wipe those areas thoroughly so as not to cause a reaction in baby.***
Now...for the fun part!
What are the best oils to have on hand in labor? Here are my top 5 MUST haves!
Lavender is known for it's versatility and calming effect. It can soothe anxiety, ease stress and tension, promote calm and tranquility and lessen the perception of pain. It has a clean and fresh scent.
Peppermint is excellent for nausea or vomiting. If a mom is feeling nauseous, particularly in transition, her partner or doula can apply a few drops to a washcloth for her to inhale during or between contractions for relief. It can also be put on a warm compress and applied to mom's lower back if she's experiencing back labor.
Clary sage is another very useful and versatile oil, promoting calm and relaxation, easing pain perception, keeping labor moving, easing muscle spasms, and promoting blood pressure health in the laboring mom. It is great for afterbirth pains as well!
Helichrysum is a great oil for soothing the discomforts of contractions. It promotes peace and calm, and has been known to ease stress and tension.
Wild orange is calming, invigorating and inspiring. It is great for boosting energy (excellent to breathe in before pushing!).
A quick word about oils for after baby is born (again I recommend diffusing only). There are two blends that I love absolutely love. The first is Peace and Calming and the second is Gentle Baby. Lavender as a single oil is wonderful too and later on can be diluted and used with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) for diaper rash and many other things!
If you are interested in purchasing any oils, I would love to help you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have and I would be glad to assist you!
Happi loves serving families in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago as a labor doula and childbirth educator. When she's not at a birth, she loves spending time her husband and three boys.