Let’s Chat about Essential Oils & Labor!
Welcome to part two of this three-part blog series about essential oil use during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. In case you missed Part One about essential oil use during pregnancy you can read it here.
The female body is absolutely amazing, especially when we consider the fact that we can conceive and give life to another precious human being. From the moment you find out you’re pregnant your view of the world suddenly changes. You start considering all of the things you can do for self-care to ensure your pregnancy is as smooth as possible. You start thinking of how to find the perfect doula, boy and girl names, and what the perfect color will be for the nursery.
All of a sudden you start thinking about how everything is going to go once you’re in labor and what you want for a birth plan. Having a birth plan is key, it will ensure that your loved ones and providers know exactly how you want your birthing experience to be. Now, not everything may go according to plan. However, the birth plan can ensure nothing gets lost in translation once the magic of labor begins. Your doula will also be your best advocate in the labor and delivery room and will ensure that your birth plan is followed, so you can focus on laboring and delivering with ease.
Speaking of laboring with ease, have you ever wondered what essential oils would be best to have in your arsenal once you’re in labor? Well, friends, you’re in luck! This blog post is going to discuss some essential oils to pack and have on hand when the magic begins.
First things first, what do I need to know about bringing essential oils into the delivery room?
Sure, essential oils are natural and can assist with a variety of ailments. However, our sense of smell is uniquely individual. While one person may find an aroma comforting and pleasing, it may not be as pleasing or comforting to someone else. Prior to utilizing essential oils in your delivery room, I would recommend checking with the nursing staff to see if anyone that will be assisting you through the magical process of giving birth has any sensitivities or allergies to any of the essential oils you have brought along. One example I like to use is Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), we know lavender as being calming and soothing. However, for some, it has the complete opposite effect and can make some feel hyperactive, or on edge. We also have to remember that these precious essential oils are distilled from plant material, so if someone has an allergy to a particular plant chances are they may have an allergy to the essential oil as well.
Other considerations when preparing your essential oil labor kit-
I would recommend preparing a small kit for yourself with a couple different blends of essential oils. This way your blends will be easily accessible to you and you won’t have to worry about fumbling with multiple bottles of essential oils while you’re laboring. Not to mention, while in labor, an aroma you find pleasing one minute can be extremely displeasing the next. This is part of the reason I do not recommend bringing your home diffuser with, but rather placing a few drops of a single essential oil or an essential oil blend onto a cotton round and then place the cotton round in a plastic Ziploc bag. This way you can inhale an aroma at your leisure and if all of a sudden you are turned off by the smell, it’s easy enough to seal it up and get rid of it.
You can make multiple bags like this so you have a variety to choose from while in labor, just be sure to label the bags with each different aroma. You could also create a variety of personal inhalers to use in the same manner as the Ziploc bags while you’re laboring. Remember, stress can slow the laboring process so I would be sure to create a blend or pick essential oils that are soothing and relaxing to you.
A 10ml glass roller with diluted essential oils may also be another thing you want to consider for your kit. In the roller, you may want to use essential oils that can help with pain while laboring. This would also be a convenient application method for your partner to apply to your back and give you a massage while laboring.
Hydrosols would also be another thing I would recommend adding to your kit. Often times hydrosols have therapeutic properties similar to essential oils but their aromas are a lot softer. A hydrosol may be beneficial especially if your sense of smell is on overdrive while in labor and the aroma of an essential oil seems too intense.
What are some essential oils and Hydrosols I should consider for my labor kit?
Some essential oils I would recommend are:
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Distilled from flowers, lavender is known to calm, sooth and reduce anxiety. Lavender also carries pain relieving properties.
- Jasmine Absolute (Jasminum grandiflorum) – Solvent extracted from flowers, Jasmine Absolute is known to help regulate mood and may help to relieve back pain in the early stages of labor.
- Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) – Distilled from flowers, Neroli is prized for its uplifting, calming and relaxing effects.
- Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) – Distilled from leaves, Geranium offers wonderful emotional support.
- Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) – Distilled from flowers, Roman Chamomile can help to reduce anxiety and calm the mind.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – Distilled from rhizomes (roots), Ginger may help to relieve nausea and help combat burnout.
Some hydrosols I would recommend are:
- German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – German Chamomile hydrosol is extremely skin nourishing and calming for the mind.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Lavender can help to enhance your mood and can also be very calming and soothing.
What dilution of essential oils should I use when formulating my labor kit?
If you are utilizing standard size cotton rounds in a plastic bag, I would recommend 4-6 drops of essential oil per cotton round. If you are formulating a massage blend to take with you I would recommend a 1% dilution (5-6 drops) of essential oils per 1 ounce of carrier. When it comes to utilizing Aromatherapy during labor the key is to not overdo it and remember we are simply assisting our bodies with the natural process of labor.
Wondering what a labor cotton round blend might look like? Here is a sample recipe to calm, soothe and promote a euphoric state.
I can smell the lovely aroma as a type and hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Becoming a mother is such a magical time and I am so grateful to be able to share some aromatherapy love with all of you! If the thought of putting together your own labor kit seems a little daunting, I would be more than happy to formulate and put a labor kit together for you. Feel free to email me with any questions at Sara@Pneuma.online.
Sara is a level 2 AIA & NAHA Certified Aromatherapist, a Certified Aromatherapy Teacher Level 1 and owner of Pneuma, LLC. She resides in Green Bay with her husband Rick, and daughter Viola. Sara began her journey to natural living 8 years ago when she realized that the “food” she was eating, wasn’t really food at all. After cleaning up her diet and cleaning out her cupboards, Sara began to look at other ways to cut chemicals from her life and began making her own cleaning products; lotions, body butters, toothpaste, laundry detergent and more. Aromatherapy always piqued Sara’s interest and with so much misinformation out there, she knew she had to gain her Certification so she could help others utilize essential oils safely in their day to day lives. Sara believes in the bodies innate ability to heal itself, when given the proper tools, and has a passion for helping others live a more naturally minded lifestyle. Sara is also an abstract artist and cosmetologist. In her free time, Sara enjoys swimming with her daughter and husband, writing, reading, going for bike rides and soaking up as much sun as possible.