Does Essential Oils Help to Induce Labour?
If you’re in the last leg of pregnancy and your labour is overdue, you must be scouring the internet, looking for ways to induce labour. There are many ways to induce labour, but if you’re looking for a natural remedy, essential oils for labor can be your best bet. Essential oils are all in rage and are suggested for every possible ailment, including combating labour pain and inducing labour pain too. They are generally considered safe and are quite easy to use. However, it may be best to implement them only after consulting an OB/GYN. Before we discuss which oils are safe, let’s understand what is labour induction.
What Is Labour Induction?
Labour induction is a method of stimulating childbirth which can be brought about by drug treatment or non-pharmaceutical procedures. The labour processes like breaking of water, the opening of the cervix, starting contractions are usually triggered artificially. A pregnant woman who is overdue or has certain health conditions may be recommended labour induction in order to avoid any risk to her health as well as her baby’s health. In such an incidence, she may not be able to select the process of induction. But some moms-to-be can opt for it voluntarily too. In any case, it is always advisable to discuss with an OB the possibility of applying essential oils in the instance of being medically induced.
Should You Use Essential Oils for Inducing Labour?
Essential oils, but not all of them, can bring about labour. If your labour is overdue, you can consider essential oils for labour induction, if yours is a low-risk pregnancy. Find out how an essential oil may help:
1. Essential Oils Can Calm You.
Essential oils are believed to calm both the mind and body of an expectant mom thus making the labour process easy.
2. They Can Make You Feel Energetic.
During labour, a lot of energy gets consumed usually leaving a pregnant woman drained and exhausted. Essential oils may not only alleviate some of the pain but also help a pregnant woman to feel energised and more focussed to push effectively.
3. Essential Oils Can Help You Relax.
These oils can help generate the feelings of relaxation and peacefulness which can be primarily useful in a volatile situation like labour. They can create a sense of control given the unpredictable nature of the labour process.
4. Essential Oils Can Help You Heal.
Essential oils may encourage the course of healing naturally by taking the edge off postpartum emotions like depression. They may thus promote the overall well-being of new mothers by helping them become fitter faster.
Which Essential Oils Are Good for Labour Induction?
Some of the best essential oils during labor induction are given below:
1. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is a versatile oil known for its many health benefits.
Lavender oil can successfully calm and relax a woman during labour thereby reducing an otherwise distressing process. Only two drops of this magical oil can shorten the duration of labour at every stage of its development. You can also start using the oil towards the end of the third trimester to set the stage and lessen the feelings of anxiety.
Lavender oil can cause burning if used undiluted. It can also prompt nausea if used in large quantities.
2. Clary Sage Oil
Aromatherapists popularly use it for medicinal purposes.
The oil may allow the muscles to release tension and relax thus naturally charging up contractions. It can also bring about relief from pain and uneasiness. Moreover, it doesn’t possess an overwhelming scent.
Since it works fast, it is recommended to use it only for induction in the supervision of a doctor. It should not be applied neat.
3. Jasmine Oil
It is a widely used natural remedy for dealing with emotional stress and anxiety.
Jasmine oil, with its sweet alluring smell, can offer pain relief during each phase of labour thus hastening it with relative comfort. It can also intensify contractions and ensure smooth advancement of labour.
It should be used only for labour induction and not in pregnancy. Some women may find its sweet smell irritating.
4. Rose Oil
It is commonly recognised for its healing properties.
The aromatic oil can work swiftly to help proceed labour faster by stepping up the contractions. It can also provide quick relief from pain.
It should not be applied neat. Some women may feel repulsed by its sweet smell.
5. Frankincense Oil
This oil is known to have stress-relieving properties. It provides relief from chronic stress and helps with labour pain.
It can prevent damage to the perineum and help diminish the pain during labour. Its calming abilities can foster relaxed muscles and hurry the contractions.
It can cause problems if used in the diluted form.
6. Evening Primrose Oil
It is a potent healing essential oil as it contains gamma-linolenic acid.
It can have a significant impact on softening the cervix which is usually the first step in labour induction. It can further fasten the progression of labour. It can also prove useful in managing postpartum feelings.
It can cause thinning of the blood. It can also give rise to digestive issues or headaches during labour.
7. Peppermint Oil
It is known to be valuable in treating several health conditions.
Its use can bring immediate relief from pain. It can also help in combating nausea during labour. Its merits can extend even after childbirth for postpartum conditions.
Some people can find its scent a bit overpowering.
8. Geranium Oil
It is acknowledged for improving the mental, physical and emotional health.
Most people find its earthy, nutty scent comforting. Therefore it can relax the tense muscle and re-energise sparking off the labour process.
Some women may find its smell unbearable.
9. Citrus Blossom Oil
It is an essential oil derived from citrus blossoms, known for its refreshing and uplifting aroma.
A study states that there were reduced anxiety levels when citrus blossom oil was used during labour, which helped lower pain levels.
Using the oil during labour can result in allergic reactions and overstimulation due to its uplifting properties.
10. Ylang Ylang Oil
Ylang ylang has a scent that is floral and feminine.
The oil contains a component called linalool, which helps with anxiety and reduces pain, stress, blood pressure, and muscle tension.
Since the oil comes from a flower, it is costlier than wood or citrus oils.
11. Eucalyptus Oil
The oil is emanated from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree and is known for its refreshing and invigorating aroma.
The oil has analgesic effects and anti-inflammatory properties. A drop or two of oil in a warm bath can help calm the hard-working muscles during labour, reducing stress hormone cortisol levels and giving a little boost of oxytocin.
Using Eucalyptus Oil during labour may lead to excessive stimulation and discomfort due to its strong scent.
How to Use Essential Oil for Labour Induction
You can use the following blends of essential oils for labour induction:
1. Rose and Clay Sage Oil Blend
This blend has a divine scent which can work wonders.
- Rose oil
- Clary sage oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Vanilla oil
- Combine a few drops of rose oil, clary sage oil, and sweet almond oil in a bowl.
- Stir in the vanilla oil.
- Apply the mix on the tummy to bring forth contractions.
2. Lavender Oil Blend
This fantastic blend can work wonderfully to boost things naturally.
- Lavender oil – 2 drops
- Chamomile oil – 1 drop
- Shea butter
- Mix all the ingredients.
- Apply twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening, to relax and calm the stressed muscles.
3. Peppermint Oil Blend
Peppermint oil blend can keep the pain and anxiety experienced during pregnancy and labour, and help you relax.
- Peppermint oil
- Chamomile oil
- Frankincense oil
- Coconut oil
- Mix together all the oils.
- Apply the blend on the aching body parts to get respite.
Ways to Apply Essential Oils to Induce Labour
Some of the ways you can apply essential oils for labour pain can be as follows:
Some essential oils like rose oil, peppermint oil, chamomile oil, lavender oil, Ylang Ylang oil, orange oil do better in diffusers. Merely place a diffuser beside your bed and pour a few drops of your preferred essential oil in it. You may also opt for a portable diffuser so that you can carry it along with you.
2. Topical Application
Dilute a couple of drops of your chosen essential oil by mixing a carrier oil like olive oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil or jojoba and apply it on the neck, shoulders and stomach to calm and soothe your senses.
Things to Keep in Mind While Using Essential Oil for Labour Induction
Certain things that you may like to keep in mind while using essential oils for labour and delivery are:
- Be sure that you use only pure and therapeutic grade oils.
- It may bear well to have a doctor around when you use essential oil for labour induction as a precautionary measure.
- All essential oils may not suit you. Find out which one will help your situation the most.
- Always remember to dilute the oil before applying it topically.
- Refrain from over-using it. One or two drops are generally enough when applying topically and three or four drops while diffusing.
1. Can I Use Castor Oil to Naturally Induce Labor?
Yes, as castor oil is one of the essential oils to start labor. It stimulates bowel activity, which, in turn, irritates the uterus, leading to contractions, thus potentially decreasing the need for interventions like a C-section.
2. How Can I Make Labor Massage Oil?
To make the best essential oil for labor, combine oils like lavender, chamomile roman, clary sage, rose and marjoram with a carrier oil such as sweet almond in a small bowl. Apply this oil between contractions and firmly massage the lower abdomen and the whole lower back.
Natural birthing options are gaining popularity among pregnant women as it is beneficial for both the baby and the mom. Essential oils can be a safe technique to support the progression of labour without any side-effects. This way, an expectant mother can avoid medications and experience a stress-free delivery. But they should always be used with precautions and after consulting with a doctor!
1. Yuriko Tadokoro, Shigeko Horiuchi, Kaori Takahat, et.al; Changes in salivary oxytocin after inhalation of clary sage essential oil scent in term-pregnant women: a feasibility pilot study; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5721455/; December 2017
2. The Use of Essential Oils in Labour; frimleyhealthandcare.org.uk; https://www.frimleyhealthandcare.org.uk/media/1566/guidelines-for-the-use-of-essential-oils-in-midwifery-clinical-practice.pdf
3. CLARY SAGE (SALVIA SCLAREA) ESSENTIAL OIL USE DURING CHILDBIRTH: A SMALL SURVEY; aromatherapyforchildbirth.org; https://www.aromatherapyforchildbirth.org/clary-sage-salvia-sclarea-essential-oil-use-childbirth-small-survey/
4. Can anything bring labour on?; tommys.org; https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/giving-birth/labour-and-birth-faqs/can-anything-bring-labour
5. Essential oils: A pain management alternative for labor and delivery; utswmed.org; https://utswmed.org/medblog/essential-oils-pregnancy/