The throes of labor are a time unto themselves, aren't they? We mamas want all the help for all the pain and exhaustion, and quickly, thank you very much. But we also want to be fully present and not in a drugged stupor when baby springs forth. Essential oils are just the ticket, hitting on both marks. Essential oils (or EO's) can be a viable set of laboring tools with only a small investment and a little bit of knowledge. And if you lean toward alternative medicine or you're wanting as little medical intervention as possible, EO's may be just what you're looking for.
Before we get into the oils themselves, a word about how to use essential oils. Generally speaking, apply oils topically only if you first dilute them in a carrier oil, like coconut or grapeseed oil. Just a couple drops in a carrier is all you'll need for a quick massage to help with back labor or neck tension. Diffusing oils is another great way to get their benefits (Amazon has tons of options), as is simply putting a drop of oil on a cotton ball or wet rag to inhale when needed. Sidenote: not ALL essential oils are safe during pregnancy or recommended for newborns, so do your research when veering from this list. As always, it's a good idea to check in with your care provider, too.
Ok, here we go:
Probably the biggest EO superpower, lavender is phenomenal for calming frazzled nerves and tense bodies. Lavender in a diffuser during labor can be a calming force for not only mama but dad, too, as well as all laboring staff.
This oil is excellent as a calming force, too, and is known to relieve nausea. If you're feeling ill or exhausted (if!), try a drop of peppermint on your tongue, or have a nurse or doula rub a couple drops diluted in a carrier oil into your lower back or abdomen. Peppermint is also a cooling agent, so if you're feeling the heat, literally, try this oil to cool you down.
Lemon is packed with vitamin C, and is a natural mood lifter. Inhaling a deep breath of lemon can recharge you and keep you going. Who couldn't use a little mood enhancer in the midst of labor?
4. Clary Sage.
This is a powerful oil, ladies. Known to bring on labor, only use this oil close to your due date and with the permission of your care provider. Clary sage may strengthen contractions if you find your labor slowing or stalling (think high gear!), and it can be used to relieve tension as well. A couple drops diluted in a carrier and rubbed into your skin or inhaled may do the trick.
Myrrh is another oil known to bring on contractions. Just smelling a couple drops on a cotton ball may be enough to get a stalled labor going again and get that sweet infant into your arms!
Though frankincense is a pricey oil, some would say it's power is worth it. Use frankincense for calming, for relieving pain and tension from contractions, and for healing tears after birth. And speaking of that, after baby is born, some cultures put a single drop on baby's head, believing it will enhance brain development. Frankincense has literally been used for ages (it was a gift of the Wise Men to the Baby Jesus. Bet you never thought of that connection, huh?)
So there you go. Add EO's to your hospital bag & write yourself a quick list of their uses if you're unsure. Then enjoy the clearheaded helpfulness of essential oils as you bring your sweet bean into the world!