Essential Oils for Labor & Birth

One of the key items in my “birth doula bag” are essential oils. They have the power to transform a sterile, cold, hospital room into an inviting, relaxing, and cozy space. Last month I shared my favorite essential oils for pregnancy which I invite you to read through first if you’re new to essential oils. Use in labor is becoming more mainstream especially now that research shows there are benefits, specifically for pain relief. I’ve noticed that not only do essential oils assist the laboring mom, they also provide benefits to others in the birthing room. I cannot tell you how many times a doctor, nurse, or midwife has walked into the room, smelled the essential oils, and commented on the relaxing effects. I’ve personally witnessed stressed nurses relax in an instant upon inhaling the aromas diffusing in the room. It’s beautiful to see and proves to me that these powerful plant derivatives serve a great purpose in labor & delivery.

For labor & birth specifically, I recommend starting with oils earlier in pregnancy. This allows you to become familiar with the various ways to use them and find your favorites. Most hospitals and birth centers allow you to bring in a plug-in diffuser, but if you don’t want to take up the room in your hospital bag, you can invest in a wireless diffuser. An alternative to a diffuser is to pack some cotton balls or cotton pads. Some people develop aversions to strong scents in labor, so putting a drop or two of essential oils on a cotton pad allows you to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy and you can simply flush it down the toilet if it gets to be too much.

In addition to the various oils for labor & birth, and their benefits, I’ll share a few blends that you can create for aromatic or topic use. Always dilute with a carrier oil when using topically and try out the blend on your skin prior to labor in case you have any sort of reaction.

The essential oils I use are 100% therapeutic grade by Young Living. You can read more about Young Living, their standards, farms, and products here. I always encourage doing your own research when using essential oils. They are powerful plant products and some people do have unexpected reactions. When introducing essential oils to your life, it’s best start off slowly to allow your senses and body to adjust. Ultimately using essential oils requires an attitude of exploration. It’s been really interesting for me personally to see how they benefit my life.

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My Favorite Oils for Labor & Birth

Valor: by far my favorite oil of ALL TIME, but especially during birth. This magical blend promote confidence and courage. It is great to support the roller coaster of emotions you might experience during birth. If any fears come up, Valor is a wonderful oil to help you work through those fears and balance your mood. Dilute with a carrier oil and massage over your heart. Or place 2 drops on a cotton pad and have your partner wave in front of your face between contractions - breathe deep.

Lavender: incredibly relaxing and calming! You can dilute with a carrier oil and use for a lower back massage to promote relaxation and relieve muscle tension. You can also diffuse lavender throughout labor to help promote rest.

Copaiba & Idaho Balsam Fir: helpful for tense or sore muscles. Dilute separately or together with a carrier oil and have your birth partner or doula massage into your shoulders, low back, or feet.

Jasmine & Clary Sage: encourages stimulation of the uterus and can help bring on or strengthen contractions. These are a very powerful oil and should be used mindfully. Always dilute (separately) with your carrier oil of choice. You can massage into acupressure points for labor. If you’re experiencing some emotional blockages, place 1 drop of clary sage on a cotton ball and inhale for a few minutes, then take a break. Repeat as often as needed. Not recommended for use prior to 40 weeks of pregnancy.

Peppermint: gives you a burst of energy when you’re feeling sluggish. Place a drop on a cotton pad and inhale when you’re feeling nauseous or need an energy boost. Lemon is also great for energy or nausea.

Gentle Baby: a comforting and soothing blend that creates feelings of peace. It can help in relieving stress and anxiety and supports bonding between mom & baby. Dilute with a carrier oil and massage over your belly, feet or low back.

Orange & Geranium: two words: PAIN RELIEF. These are the go-to oils for decreasing pain in labor. You can use them together (note that Geranium is a bit strong for some, so again, try it out before birth!) with a carrier oil or diffuse throughout labor or when your pain intensifies.

DIY Birth Blends

To make these birth blends you’ll need the following supplies: carrier oils (fractionated coconut oil works great!), 10ml roller bottles, mini funnels, essential oils of choice

Pain Relief Blend:

  • 15 drops copaiba

  • 7 drops lavender

  • 7 drops geranium

  • top with carrier oil

Roll on low back, shoulders, lower abdomen or wherever you need relief.

Come On Baby Blend:

  • 10 drops clary sage

  • 4 drops jasmine

  • 4 drops cypress

  • 4 drops ylang ylang

  • top with carrier oil

Roll on inner ankles and low back.

Calming Blend:

  • 10 drops lavender

  • 5 drops frankincense

  • top with carrier oil

Roll on wrists, chest or back of the neck.

Courage Blend:

  • 7 drops valor

  • 5 drops white angelica

  • top with carrier oil

Roll on wrists or over heart.

Energizing Blend

  • 3 drops lemon

  • 3 drops peppermint

  • 3 drops rosemary

  • 3 drops eucalyptus

  • top with carrier oil

Roll on the back of the neck and the bottoms of feet. This can be used for labor and delivery, as well as after baby’s birth for a much needed pick me up.

I’m so honored to be able to share all of these oils & blends with you! I hope they serve as useful to you as they have been to me and my clients. To get started using therapeutic-grade essential oils for pregnancy, birth, or postpartum I recommend purchasing Young Living’s amazing Premium Starter Kit & get personalized guidance with essential oils from me! You’ll also get your own customized roller! Post any questions below or reach out to learn more.