Recall a time in your past that you felt relaxed and comfortable. Was there a nice smell associated with this time? Maybe the smell of a particular flower that you enjoy?
Aromatherapy is one tool that can be used for comfort in labor. Essential oils are extracted from plants, flowers and fruit and distilled. They can be used by massaging them into the skin, or inhaling the scents to engage the senses, create a relaxing environment and reduce anxiety and fear.
One study stated the following: “The evidence from this study suggests that aromatherapy can be effective in reducing maternal anxiety, fear and/or pain during labour.”
If you don’t already have a few essential oils in your home, you’ve probably heard about them as they grow in popularity and use. Essential oils, diffusers and related items are available at health food stores and from many online companies like Young Living or doTerra.
We like to keep our use of essential oils in labor very simple:
1) Lavender – to create a calm, relaxing environment.
2) Peppermint – to help with exhaustion, nausea, heat and aches during labor.
To massage oil into the skin, dilute a drop or two with a teaspoon of a carrier oil (some examples are sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or coconut oil). Massage the oil into feet, temples, lower back, shoulders and other areas of discomfort.
To inhale, add 2 drops of the essential oil into a diffuser or add 2 drops into a warm bath, onto a washcloth or a cotton ball and breathe in the scent. The washcloth or cotton ball is a good option if you wish to remove the scent altogether at a later point.
Did you use any essential oils in labor? What was your favorite use?