Aromatherapy may be helpful during labor to introduce healing or calming properties of herbs and other plant scents into your body. The sense of smell is powerful and can invoke strong feelings and emotions. Some women find that aromatherapy creates a comforting, relaxed environment while they are in labor.
If you think you may want to try aromatherapy while you’re in labor, we recommend finding a few scents in advance that make you feel calm or at home.
Many women choose essential oils for their aromatherapy. There are some scents that may have more healing properties than others, and some have specific properties, like pain relieving or relaxation effects.
For example the following plants are thought to have pain relieving and/or relaxing effects:
Beaumont provides pure essential oils that can be used for massage or inhalation. Scents include peppermint, lavender and citrus.
Less is more
Remember that your senses will be heightened, so what you enjoy smelling before labor may be offensive to you during labor. Even if you love a scent, you may find that you can’t handle having it around you during labor. So just in case that happens, it’s probably a good idea to find portable ways to incorporate the scent into your surroundings so you can have someone take it away if it starts to bother you, and the scent won’t linger.
Consider using a spritz bottle with at least four ounces of water combined with just a drop or two of essential oils. Keep it in the refrigerator until you need it. You can use this to spritz a washcloth or onto your feet. If you’re allowed to take a bath, you may want to spritz some into the bathtub to help you relax. (If you choose the spritz bottle, the scent may linger longer than you want it to.)
You could also create your own scent pillow from a cotton handkerchief or washcloth, some rice, and a bit of dried lavender to mix with the rice. You may wish to use citrus scent, like dried orange or grapefruit peel, or dried rose petals for your scent pillow instead. But whatever you do, remember that less is more — especially during labor and delivery.
There are some herbs and essential oils you should never take or use for aromatherapy during pregnancy because they can be harmful to the pregnancy. Before using any herbs or essential oils, talk with your health care provider.