Aromatherapy for Childbirth

Special considerations when using aromatherapy with a women during childbirth

  • She will not know if she is going to like the aromatherapy oils while in labour or if she will find it too strong and irritating.
  • She will not know if she will want to be massaged, she may plan for aromatherapy massage then find that she does not want to be touched.
  • It is a good idea to be prepared with a few different methods for administering the oils.
  • Start off with a more diluted blend of oils and if the mother tolerates it you can make the blend stronger.
  • You don’t want an overpowering aroma in the air when the baby arrives so go easy as you get close to the end. Stop spraying the air and turn off the diffuser once 2nd stage begins.


Cautions when using aromatherapy

  • Never take oils internally and don’t use them directly on the skin (blend them first).
  • Don’t use oils in or too close to the eyes. If any oil accidentally gets in the eyes, flush with milk rather than water.
  • If any irritation occurs, discontinue use.


Storing essential oils

  • Make sure they are tightly sealed in dark glass bottles.
  • Store them away from the effects of heat and light to help them maintain their potency.
  • Keep them out of reach of children, poisoning can occur if ingested.


How to use essential oils in childbirth

Massage- Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil before using on the skin, otherwise they can cause skin irritation.

You can use any natural oil such as olive, grape-seed, avocado, apricot kernel and wheat-germ oils.

Don’t use petroleum based baby oil.

Recommended dose: To 30ml of carrier oil add 30 drops of aromatherapy oils.

Bathing – Disperse 30-40 drops of oil in 1/3 of a cup of milk or to 30ml of carrier oil then add to the bath just before turning off the taps. Note: If you are using a carrier oil in the bath be wary that it may be slippery.

Inhalation– Add 1-3 drops of oil blend to a handkerchief or tissue.

Oil burners and diffusers- You can get electric diffusers which are allowed in many maternity hospitals. Add 3-5 drops of oil blend to the diffuser and top it up as required.

Spray mist- Use 20 drops in 60ml of water. Don’t spay the mother directly, use it to spray into the air like an air freshener.

Compress- Simply add 3-4 drops essential oil to a bowl of warm or cool water. Drape a flannel over the surface of the water to absorb the film of the oil. Ring out cloth and apply to face, back of the neck, abdomen or lower back.


Oils to use during birth

Clary Sage oil- strengthens the respiratory and muscular systems in labour while facilitating regular, effective contractions to speed up the process. This essential oil also relieves pain and tension.

Neroli oil- brightens the spirit and brings clarity to the mind. This essential oil improves circulation throughout the body and reduces fear and anxiety.

Jasmine oil- dulls uterine pain, strengthens contractions during labour and promotes healthy production of breast-milk.

Clove oil- stimulates contractions, facilitating the birth process. This oil is useful for its antiseptic and pain relieving properties and will also prevent nausea and vomiting, sometimes experienced during labour.

Lavender oil- is good for pain relief and helps to strengthen contractions and is calming.

Peppermint oil- helps to ward off nausea and act as a pick me up. Great as a compress on the back of the neck and forehead during the transition phase.

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