Do you use essential oils?

Essential oils – they’re everywhere!  You’ve probably seen friends reference them on your social media feeds, or see them diffused in various places of business. They’re even sold in pharmacies and grocery stores now.

So what exactly are essential oils?

An oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the “essence” of the plant’s fragrance. They are extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Essential oils have been used medicinally throughout history.

Different Uses for Essential Oils

Essential oils can be used for many different things such as relieving stress or fighting off the common cold. They can even be mixed with water and can replace many cleaning products.

I was first introduced to essential oils when my children were very small. I learned that adding some Eucalyptus or Rosemary oil to the water in the children’s humidifier, it helped with their breathing. Also, whenever the kids had a cold or were congested, I diluted 1-2 drops of these oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut or almond, and rubbed it on their backs and chests to relieve some of their symptoms.

Essentials Oils During Labour

Did you know that essential oils can be a useful tool during labour? When I did my doula training, we learned about the different essential oils to use during labour. Over the past 14 years as a Doula, I’ve acquired many oils that I bring along in my doula bag.

Here are some of my go-to essential oils for labour:

  • White Angelica: This is a calming and soothing blend that encourages feelings of protection and security. It combines oils such as ylang-ylang, myrrh, geranium, bergamot, hyssop, rosewood, Melissa, and black spruce. I usually use it when a client feels nervous, anxious or discouraged.
  • Clary Sage: This essential oil has many uplifting and mood-lightening attributes. Also, women use it to diminish monthly period discomfort. I use it to soothe the menstrual cramp feeling during labor.
  • Lavender: It is very versatile and is a must-have oil, as it helps calm and soothe our nervous system. I sometimes add a few drops in the bath-water at the hospital or birthing centre. 
  • Cypress: This oil has a soothing yet uplifting effect on our emotions. It also helps blood flow. I use it for a boost of energy as well as for massaging swollen feet and hands.
  • Peppermint: One of the most ancient oils, it helps alleviate stomach discomfort and helps with headaches. I use it when a labouring woman feels nauseous or has a headache. It’s very strong so I dilute it with a carrier oil or I put a drop on a napkin for a mom to smell.

Test Your Oils Before Birth

I always make sure to talk about essential oils with my clients during prenatal meetings.  This gives you a chance to let me know what you do and don’t like in terms of scents. We all have our own scent preferences so it’s important to only use oils that you are comfortable with.

Essential oils can be used in all the different stages of labour and are one tool among many that Doulas use. Not all Doulas use essential oils, but you can bring your own with you to your birth. Whether we’re using oils to calm you when you’re nervous, to alleviate cramps, to boost your energy, or to help you get rid of a stomach ache or nausea, essential oils have proven to be of great help during the labour and delivery process.  

Note that in some cases, pregnant women should not use essential oils, so do ask your Dr or your Midwife before using them.

Do you plan on using essential oils at your birth? What are some of your favourites? Let me know in the comments below!

Here’s to beautiful and positive births,


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