Essential Oils for Labor

Essential oils are an awesome natural resource to use for a variety of things and one of those things include labor!  If you are considering incorporating essential oils into your laboring experience there are a few important things to know ahead of time.

Not all essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy, labor and delivery.  Please do your research in advance before choosing the oils or blends that you are going to use.  Some oils to avoid include, but are not limited to the following: cinnamon, basil, rosemary, clary sage, fennel, juniper, anise, jasmine, and wintergreen.

Use caution when using essential oils topically or by diffusing.  While some topical use and diffusing may be fine while laboring, it may not be safe for baby once baby is delivered.  Essential oil usage on or around newborns is typically not recommended, so if you can smell it on yourself or in the room, baby is exposed to it as well. When baby is born we want our baby to smell us to begin the bonding process and not our essential oils.  

Aromatherapy can certainly help alleviate your anxiety and help you relax.  The best way to use your oils during labor and delivery may be to put drops of your chosen oil(s) onto a cotton ball and place the cotton ball in a container or baggie that you can open and sniff as needed.  You can also sniff the bottle of essential oil itself.  Some people may find it useful to have your birthing partner wear the oils on their wrist so that you can smell them when they are holding your hand.  Essential oils may not be relaxing if the smell isn't pleasing to you.  Make sure to explore a variety of oils prior to labor and see which one(s) is/are your favorite.  Some of the most common and safe essential oils people use include peppermint, lavender, frankincense, and wild orange (to name a few).

As always, you will want to consult with your midwife or OBGYN before your expected delivery regarding essential oil usage, guidelines and policies.  You may be advised to not use the oils in a labor tub and not to use them topically, especially if you are having a hospital birth in the event of needing an emergency cesarean.

Did you use essential oils during labor?  If so, which ones and how?