Essential oils and aromatherapy are your allies for birth.
Gentle and powerful at the same time, pure plant extracts in the form of essential oils can be used to support you physically, emotionally and energetically as you open to bring your baby Earthside.
The top 6 Essential Oils you need in your birth bag are:
- Clary Sage or Jasmine (NB: avoid Clary Sage and Jasmine during pregnancy, until labour begins, or use if overdue and wanting to try for natural induction)
- Balance – The Grounding blend
- Motivate – The Encouraging blend
CLARY SAGE OR JASMINEYou could choose just one of these. The reason you want one of these floral beauties handy is to support your body to maintain regular and effective surges (contractions). Both of these oils are emmenagogue- this means they support uterine contractions. Especially useful if you transition from home to hospital and what was ‘game on’ all of a sudden stalls. Or, at anytime when your surges slow down or stall. Get your partner, or doula to apply some of the oil onto the Spleen 6 acupressure point (see this acupressure reference to learn about using various acupressure points for birth) for enhancing the effectiveness of surges. You can also use the oil and this point as a means of “natural” induction. If your body is ready to go into labour it may help it along. Spleen 6 acupressure point Image from Debra Betts summary acupressure guide You can also diffuse Clary Sage or Jasmine during birth with any other combination of oils you like. I like to add it with any of the citrus oils to maintain a sense of buoyancy and to support the mother to feel energised and uplifted. Note that Clary Sage and Jasmine will only start labour if your body is already ready to begin this process, however because of the nature of these essential oils and their effect, it’s safest to wait to use these oils when labour has started or if you want to encourage labour post 40 weeks.
BALANCEThe grounding blend is perfect to calm frazzled overwhelmed nerves and to ground and anchor your energy to the earth. Perfectly blending together Spruce, Ho Wood, Frankincense, Blue Tansy, and Blue Chamomile with Fractionated Coconut Oil – Balance is an earthy calming aroma that will support the birthing woman, and her birth companions to feel safe and relaxed. Apply to the soles of feet and gently hold the balls of the feet and the kidney 1 acupressure point – you’ll find this just at the base of the ball in the centre of the foot. Or, have your partner, or doula massage the oil into your spine or neck – whatever feels most nourishing. Kidney 1 acupressure point Image from Debra Betts summary acupressure guide
FRANKINCENSEThis holy oil is a must for its nurturing grounding properties and its ability to enhance focus and provide emotional support. Frankincense is the oil of truth and birth has a propensity to draw the truth from our hearts. Frankincense can also be used to annoit your babes crown after birth, and will also support minimising and healing any stretch marks post partum. I could go on and on about the many other ways you’ll use Frankincense beyond birth, but that’s a whole post of its own.
LAVENDERThe Queen of oils. A must for any situation and why not birth? Deeply calming and sedative she will support you to feel at peace and relaxed. Emotionally she’s the oil of communication – a throat chakra opener. This beauty can help you to assert what you need, and to find your voice during birth. When the throat (and mouth) is open and soft it helps the cervix to open. This is a phenomenon noted by the famous midwife Ina May Gaskin. Ina strongly advocated for women to keep their mouths and jaws relaxed as she noticed that when this happened the women’s cervix would open more readily. Lavender also aids the pineal gland to produce melatonin. Melatonin is the darkness hormone and is a key messenger involved in the process of childbirth. It’s not talked about as much as oxytocin and other key chemicals, but it’s important nonetheless. Melatonin also supports the neo-cortex of the mother to be at rest, this is essential to birth, which as a physiological process relies upon the thinking brain being switched off. I promise you’ll be using lady Lavender a lot after birth too as it’s great for babies.
HELICHRYSUMThis extraordinary oil is often called “liquid stitches” for its ability to support tissue repair and blood. Also, likened to the homeopathic remedy Arnica which is useful for trauma, bleeding and bruising. This oil can be used as a support for postpartum haemorrhage. Apply to sacrum immediately once baby is born and before the third stage (delivery of the placenta). Massage Helichrysum in a carrier oil for supporting skin, and for stretch mark recovery.
MOTIVATE – THE ENCOURAGING BLENDThis blend contains the oils of Peppermint Plant, Clementine Peel, Coriander Seed, Basil Herb, Yuzu Peel, Melissa Leaf, Rosemary Leaf, Vanilla Bean Absolute. Basil is a fabulous birth oil because it promotes focus and mental alertness and also soothes skin and muscles, having a cooling effect. This blend is a powerful lift for women who feel discouraged or deflated and need extra emotional bolstering to find the courage and believe that they can birth their baby. Also useful if energy levels are flagging. Use the touch bottle for handy roller application to the temples, neck, spine and soles of feet, or purchase the 5ml bottle to diffuse. Alternatively place some of the oil on a tissue for to smell. To purchase essential oils, head here. Or to find out more about essential oils, head here.
Clancy Allen is a Certified Doula, Kinesiologist & Yoga teacher specialising in pre-natal yoga. Clancy provides birthing services around Newcastle & the Central Coast, NSW. Clancy is passionate about birth being experienced as a rite of passage where women experience and know their power.