Contributed by Brooke Perkins
As women, we have the beautiful and unique opportunity to bring life into this world. If you have experienced childbirth then you know there can be a lot of stress, exhaustion, and discomfort that accompanies labor and delivery. Essential oils are a great option to use to help handle the struggles before and after delivery. Also, existing research shows that they may be particularly beneficial during this time in your life.
There are three main stages of labor. The first and most recognized stage begins when you start having contractions that eventually lead to active labor. Every pregnancy is different and oftentimes labor can be a long and arduous process. Several studies have shown that the combination of aromatherapy and massage during active labor can help ease anxious feelings and soothe aches and discomfort associated with contractions.1-4 One study in particular even revealed reduced rates of medical intervention.1
Another repercussion of active labor is exhaustion. Researchers have found that Peppermint essential oil has the ability to stimulate the central nervous system, offering profound effects on mood. Clinical trials have demonstrated that Peppermint oil improves performance and alertness.5,6 Wild Orange also has a powerful influence on mood and several human trials have demonstrated that this essential oil improves both subjective and objective measures of stress. Specifically, study participants showed decreased tension and fewer feelings of apprehension.7-9 The combination of these two oils promote an energizing and revitalizing aroma.
In addition to emotional support, essential oils can also help with perineum care. The perineum (area between the vagina and anus), is subjected to extreme pressure during the birthing process. Lavender essential oil has been shown to provide multiple soothing benefits and it has also been studied for its ability to ease postpartum perineal soreness. Research has shown that when applied topically or when added to a warm bath it may help to alleviate discomfort.10-12 In addition to being soothing, Lavender oil was also found to help decrease redness and support the recovery process.13,14
As you can see, these findings support the use of essential oils in decreasing the severity of many discomforts associated with childbirth. Whether you are using them during labor or following childbirth, essential oils are a great way to improve your everyday life and comfort after having a baby.
doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary and further research is needed to gain greater understanding of the findings. Some articles offer multiple views on general health topics and are not the official position of doTERRA. Consult your healthcare provider before making changes to diet or exercise.