What Essential Oils Are Good For Labor And Delivery

Touch can have an incredibly powerful effect on the human mind and body. Massage as a form of touch can help anyone at any point in their life to relax. But it can be especially beneficial throughout your pregnancy and into labor, when your body is going through huge amounts of change and stress.

Similarly, aromatherapy used to promote relaxation can provide physiologic well-being can help to create a calm, peaceful environment during birth.

Today, let’s talk about the use of oils and their benefits during labor and delivery.

essential oils with herbs and flowers

Many mothers say that essential oils help to relieve pain in childbirth while some researchers say that aromatherapy oils seem helpful during childbirth.

What we can say is that the essential oils used in aromatherapy and massage help with the relief from nausea, anxiety, and pain during labor and even postpartum.

It must be noted, however, that aromatherapy or massage are not alternatives to necessary medication of pain relief, and essential oils can’t induce labor, they can provide comfort during labor.

What is an Essential Oil?

Essential oils are essentially mixtures of oils extracted from aromatic plants. The scents can trigger reactions in your body and brain that may help keep you calmer and more comfortable during labor.

pipette dripping into essential oil bottle

Can Essential Oils Induce Labor?

The use of certain essential oil during labor is considered safe. Studies have revealed that it is not helpful to induce labor, except in some extreme cases.

Other studies have found that the use of essential oils helps to improve your labor experience. They provide a soothing effect during labor and help to relieve the pain. It is also helpful in reducing laboring time.

Why Should I Use Essential Oils During Labor?

Labor can induce anxiety. According to research 80% of pregnant, women show severe anxiety before or during labor. This is normal. But anxiety can lead to more pain.

Using essential oils can help. They help calm your nerves and make you feel more comfortable. As a result, your anxiety levels fall and the process becomes easier.

Are Essential Oils Harmful to Use During Labor?

The use of essential oils is completely safe as long as you are using them under the guidance of your healthcare provider.

The safest method to use essential oil is through an electric aromatherapy diffuser, where you can smell and inhale the aroma.

Some people also add essential oils to carrier oils for use in massages.


Many people use essential oil for massage. But we recommend avoiding applying essential oil directly onto your skin to prevent skin rash or allergic reaction.

You can apply it by diluting it to some carrier oil such as almond oil during massage.

The following are some other guidelines for using essential oils for aromatherapy:

  • Never ingest essential oils during pregnancy.
  • Keep essential oils out of the reach of children.
  • Keep pets away while doing aromatherapy. Some essential oils are toxic to pets.
  • Aromatherapy diffusers can get hot. So extra caution is required especially as some essential oils are flammable.
  • Use aromatherapy in a fully ventilated area only.

What are the Side Effects of Using Essential Oils?

Following are the side effects of using essential oils:

  • Irritation in eyes or watering eyes
  • Nose or throat irritation
  • Headache
  • Allergic reaction
  • Lungs irritation or asthma

Essential Oils to Help With Labor and Delivery

The following essential oils are helpful and completely safe to use during labor and delivery:

Citrus Blossom (Neroli) Oil

Citrus blossom (Neroli) oil is extracted from the flowers of bitter orange trees. Research was conducted to see the effect of citrus blossom oil (neroli) on women that are about to go into labor.

The research shows that the use of citrus blossom (neroli) oil seems effective in reducing the anxiety level in those women. As a result of it, the pain during labor was lower.

Citrus blossom (Neroli) oil calms and reassures as well as helps relax. It’s also a powerful anti-depressant.

citrus-essential-oil with fruits

Citrus Oils

Citrus oils are generally great for boosting energy, reducing nausea, and are safe to use.

Lemon essential oil is a nice choice because it is affordable and reduces pathogens. You could even just slice up a lemon to smell. Citrus oils are often used by many doulas and midwives.

Clary Sage Oil

Clary Sage oil is the most commonly used essential oil during labor.

In various regions of the world, It is a traditional practice to used this oil to reduce period pain and also symptoms of menopause. During menopause, sage oil helps to ease stress and pain level.

Researchers have found it safe to use for labor and delivery. It is used to strengthen contractions. (So avoid using it during pregnancy before the baby’s due date.) It’s also an excellent oil for reducing anxiety.

You can diffuse it around you during labor to stay calm and to soothe the pain.

Lavender Oil

Lavender is a famous essential oil with little to no side effects. Various countries of Europe use lavender oil in hospitals or homes to improve sleep and reduce insomnia.

Pregnant women use this oil to calm them self during pregnancy. You can add lavender oil to your bathtub or diffuse it in your bedroom for sleeping.

Lavender oil is also quite effective in keeping you relaxed and calm during labor and even after the delivery. After delivery, it helps to promote better and deeper sleep.

lavender essential oil with flowers

Jasmine Oil

The flowery scent of jasmine essential oil alone can make you feel better.

According to studies, jasmine essential oil can be used as a massage oil during labor to ease pain and discomfort which helps lowers the pain and back pressure during labor. It is also known to strengthen contractions and can be used in a compress to aid in the delivery of the placenta. With reduced pain, the labor can become easier and faster.

Peppermint Oil

The fresh smell of peppermint provides a refreshing feeling. Peppermint essential oil is an effective and common pain reliever. It is a natural remedy that is used by a large number of people for headaches, nausea, and dizziness.

Studies show that diffusing peppermint essential oil around you during labor can have the same effect. It also keeps you more relaxed and comfortable during labor.

Ylang Ylang Oil

Ylang ylang is a feminine, floral scent that helps reduce stress, muscle tension, and pain. Ylang ylang also helps reduces anxiety.

It can be diffused during labor, or placed in a carrier oil for massage. Because it is a delicate flower oil, it is more costly than citrus or wood oils.

geranium essential oil with flowers

Geranium Oil

Geranium essential oil, a flower oil, helps promote relaxation and alleviate a depressive mood.

A clinical study of women in early labor found that inhaled geranium essential oil had a calming effect and was able to reduce the anxiety associated with first-stage labor.

Geranium oil also helps with breathing and boosts circulation.

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile essential oil can be used for issues ranging from digestive to wound healing. Research has highlighted other potential benefits, like its ability to help with depression, anxiety, and sleep. It is soothing and calming and helps to reduce tensions and anxiety.

chamomile essential oil with flowers

Bergamot (Bitter Orange) Oil

Bergamot, also known as bitter orange, essential oil is an uplifting and refreshing oil.

Bergamot oil (with other essential oils) has been shown to relieve depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders by signaling the brain to release dopamine and serotonin.

Marjoram Oil

Marjoram is an essential oil that aids in breathing and can help to lower blood pressure.

Marjoram Oil helps reduce the pain that often comes with muscle tightness and spasms. It is also an effective pain reliever.

Other Essential Oils

There is various other essential oil that is proven effective to use during labor or delivery. All of them help to keep you relaxed and lower the pain levels. Some of these include:

  • Clove oil
  • Ginger oil
  • Baby Oil - Yes, you can use baby oil
  • Cocoa Butter - not exactly an oil, this hydrating butter also doubles as a stretch mark emollient. Keep in mind, the scent, if you are prone to morning sickness.

Final Thoughts

Essential oils are considered safe to use during labor and delivery. Aromatherapy help to make you feel more relaxed and comfortable during the challenging period of labor and delivery. The smell of essential oil is enough to get its benefits.

Consult your health care provider about using essential oil during labor and delivery.

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