How Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Improved My Labor & Pregnancy
At 8:30am on February 7, 2014, I was face down in my master bedroom with very strong contractions. My midwives had me in an inverted position to encourage baby to turn. His heart rate went down during several pushes indicating he was not in an optimal position.
In the midst of so many unknowns, I had to remain calm. If I stressed I would release cortisol into my body which could cause baby to stress and could also stall labor. I needed be at ease and allow my oxytocin to flow naturally so that my cervix would continue to open up and baby would come out peacefully. In the most vulnerable moment of my life, my doula came over with a wet towel with peppermint essential oils on it. I inhaled and immediately I was able to breathe more deeply and I refocused my energy to the positive affirmations from hypnobabies. My baby was born just a few hours afterwards.
Combined with a healthy diet, mental and physical preparation, and a loving birthing team, essential oils can be a powerful aid during labor. You may have heard of oils like frankincense which were used in the biblical times. Essential Oils can cause hormonal and enzyme responses making the body more sedated, stimulated or relaxed depending on the type of oil. Pain can be relieved, wounds can heal, inflammation and spasms can cease. They are used aromatically, topically, and for some high quality grade oils, they can be ingested. Oils like lavender and neroli can help ease anxiety, calm the mind and body, and oils like lemon and mint can help energize and boost energy.
Here are a few uses for essential oils for labor and pregnancy:
- Nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy- You might notice that your sense of smell is heightened during pregnancy. That whiff of garlic or strong cologne might send you to the toilet to hurl. Whatever it is, you can utilize an aromatic diffuser or even a drop of oil in a bowl of water to help bring a good, natural scent in your living space. If you diffuse antiseptic oils like tea tree, lemon, and lavender they will also cleanse your environment of harmful airborne bacteria. For nausea, add 7 drops of lemon to 1 ounce of a carrier oil like coconut oil, and massage it over the abdomen.
- Headaches-Lavender and peppermint are great for headaches. At the first sign of headache, place a drop on your temple and use a cool compress on your forehead.
- Night terrors and insomnia– I had some of the craziest, most vivid dreams while pregnant. I also had a fort of pillows around me to help cushion my uncomfortable, growing body. Neroli blossom or sandalwood can soothe the mind and emotions.
- Difficulty breathing-Peppermint is used as an inhalant to open respiratory passages. It’s also used to calm an upset digestive tract and when used on muscle spasms will tend to release those as well.
- So much more! There are a ton of different types of essential oils for so many various uses.
You can purchase essential oils through a variety of sources. You want to make sure you find a high grade oil that does not have synthetic additives. Here are a few reputable sources:
You will want to make sure you use the oils correctly. For instance, during a time in your labor if you need energy and are feeling lethargic, don’t use a calming oil like lavender. You would want to use lemon or peppermint to help revitalize and energize your body. Do your research and try the oils out before your labor so you know how your body reacts to them!
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