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Essential Oils in Labour

Pain relief in labour always brings ideas of this pain free, easy, relaxed atmosphere. We think of epidurals and morphine as the first line of defense, but is that really where we should focus. The use of essential oils in labour has been very popular over the last decade as a first line pain relief.

The use of essential oils has become popular for a reason. The reason is because IT WORKS, it’s not invasive, there are no effects to your baby, and it makes you feel good.

Do you even know what essential oils are? Have you ever tried them?

Essential oils are: An oil derived from a natural substance, usually either for its healing properties or as a perfume. Some pharmaceuticals, and many over-the counter or ‘holistic’ remedies, are based on or contain essential oils. For example, products containing camphor or Eucalyptus essential oil can help relieve congestive coughs.

So what oils are safe to use in labour?


Lavender is one of the most popular oils and this is for a good reason. It has so many great benefits and is a very gentle oil. Lavender is a great oil for relaxation and calm, as well as relieving any muscle tension. Lavender is a great oil to mix with other oils as a top note in massage blends.

Frankincense Frankincense is another essential oil that is great for relaxation and calm. You can use frankincense either in a diffuser or in a massage oil diluted in a carrier oil. It is a great oil to use in the opening and thinning stage of labour due to its relaxing properties. Back massage at this point in labour is a great way to use frankincense.

Frankincense is also great for repairing the perineum after labour, if required.

Peppermint Peppermint is a great oil to have in your labour and birthing kit. It has anti nausea properties to deal with any effects of feeling/ being sick. I have used this oil personally in labour and I couldn’t believe how quickly my nausea went away. I found it great to use either in a diffuser on on a tissue via inhalation.

Clary Sage This oil is a very powerful essential oil and should be used at the correct time, so make sure you listen to your health professional. Clary Sage is often used to start labour, but also to increase the strength and timing of your contractions. Clary sage is also a great oil to use for comfort and also to increase your milk supply in the postnatal period.

Roman Chamomile For anyone that is under stress, is going through a period of depression, loneliness, intense fear or is challenged by anxiety, Roman Chamomile essential oil can help bring a sense of calm. Roman Chamomile is also a suggested oil for use during times of anger or irritability.

As a health professional I would recommend seeking specific advice from a specialist qualified in essential oil use. The reason behind this, is because essential oils can interact some some medication. They will also ask a detailed medical history and recommend specific oils that are combined for your personal use.

I would also recommend using a reputable brand that use quality oils, instead of synthetic or fragranced oils.

Read more informative pregnancy, birth and baby articles at Maternity Mum.


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