Aromatherapy can be a powerful tool in labor to aid in focusing on the task at hand and relaxation. Rather than using synthetic fragrances it is important to use therapeutic grade essential oils. The synthetic fragrances simply lend a nice scent but have no therapeutic effect and are full of filler chemicals.
There are several ways you can utilize essential oils during birth:
- Massage oil – mix an essential oil with a good carrier oil (such as coconut, jojoba or almond) and have your partner or doula massage your back, legs, arms, or whatever feels good to your liking
- Scent Mist – mix a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle with water. You can spray in to the air every so often.
- Diffuser – An electric diffuser is the best way to experience essential oils. I really like this one that you can purchase on Amazon.
- Hot Water Bath – Fill a basin tub with warm water and several drops of essential oil. Never use essential oils in a full body bath after the bag of waters has broken. You can also dip a washcloth in the water and place on to the forehead or around the neck if it feels comfortable.
Essential Oils that are helpful during birth:
- Lavender – is a very relaxing scent and creates harmony. It has been said to strengthen contractions and is a favorite of midwives and doulas. Because of its powerful relaxation properties is can be especially helpful in early labor and transition.
- Chamomile – is a relaxing scent that can aid with anxiety.
- Peppermint – can stimulate energy and would be beneficial during active labor when you are likely already tired from laboring. It can also effectively relieve nausea.
- Orange or grapefruit – can also be used to energize during active labor
It is important to remember that the essential oils themselves are very potent and to be used correctly only a few drops are needed at a time. During pregnancy, they should not be ingested and only applied to the skin minimally (remember to always dilute in a carrier oil). Certain essential oils should not be used in any manner during pregnancy and it is important to research any oil before using it, pregnant or not.
Have you used essential oils in any way before? Do you think they would be helpful during natural childbirth?
*Disclaimer: This is not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat disease and is purely education. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils.
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