Essential Oils and Birth

A birth experience is so deeply effected by environment. It is so important to cultivate a safe space, with people you trust. Ideally, we want to feel safe, held, supported, and free. Free to emote, free to vochalize, free to move, and free to make informed choices. Free, to go to that internal place, where our instincts and ancestral wisdom lay deep within us.


Essential oils can play a beautiful role in the cultivation and inspiration of such a a space. I bring my oils to every birth I attend, and while I do not always use them, we always have the option. Here are my top ten favorite essential oils to use in a birth space.


Disclaimer: Oil sourcing matters. Do not buy oils for use in the birth space straight off a grocery store shelf. The table 100% pure is misleading, and the regulation is it only has to have about 20% oil in it to be labeled as such. This means the remaining percent can be fillers, toxins, chemicals, whatever. Choose an oil brand you trust, and do your research. Some oils are safe for diluted topical use, some are safe for breathing in, and some are not.


Use of oils around babies should be cautious, and limited. Research, self educate, and please note that this blog post does not aim to cure or prescribe in any way.


ALL oils should be diluted with a carrier oil to personal and safe comfort levels. Some need more dilution then others.


  1. Lavender

The jack of all trades. Lavender is such a versatile, gentle, and peaceful oil. It is calming, grounding, healing, and spiritual making it the perfect oil to use during birth. Lavender can be used as an anxiety aide, it can be used to uplift the mood and calm the nervous system. It can be an oil that both gives energy, and calms nerves. It can be used for nausea, respiratory support, pain relief, prayer or meditation, headaches, sinus pressure, and more. Lavender can be applied to the skin with coconut oil, or in a roller ball with a diluting oil. It can be applied to a cotton ball, or put in a diffuser. I like to add it to my hair, or clip it with a cloth to a car vent. It is generally a gentle oil, safe for before, during, and after birth.


2. Clary Sage

This oil is one of my favorites. I absolutely adore the smell. It can aide in menstrual cramps, and support female hormones making it one of my most used oils. In birth, it can encourage and strengthen contractions, so it should be used strategically. While it strengthens contractions, it also receives the sensation of cramps, and potentially, back labor. It's an oil best used at the end stages of labor, or during postpartum to aide in the delivery of the placenta. I like to apply this oil to the same area we do counter pressure, the back kidney area, or to the top and bottom of the belly. Also a good oil to diffuse along with other oils for a scent boost.


3. Stress Away

This is a young living specific oil, but I believe there are similar oils among the various oil companies. Its a great oil for its scent (it smells amazing) and for its stress relief properties. It just makes the energy feel lighter, less heavy, more manageable.


4. Lemon

This oil is greeeaaaat for nausea. Put some on a cloth and hold near you to inhale. A combination of lemon, lavender, and rosemary is my favorite for anti nausea and respiratory support.


5. Rosemary

Rosemary has a crisp uplifting smell. It is amazing in oil form. Personally I use it for respiratory support and allergy relief. It aides me when I am having an allergic reaction. Rosemary is also unique in its ability to improve focus and memory. Great when you need a little clarity or are making decisions. In the birth space it can feel spiritual, and give a celebratory aire.


6. Peppermint

This oil should be used sparingly in the birth space. It is said to reduce breastmilk production, but you would have to use a lot on a continuous basis for this to be true. It does help to ease muscle aches, sore neck or back, headaches, and nausea. It can be a great oil to diffuse, to uplift the energy in a space. I had one client diffuse it during her entire birth because it made her feel at home, and was inspired by her Christmas named baby Noel. It was her biggest source of comfort during this birth. This is a hot oil, meaning it should not be applied directly to the skin, and do noooot put it on the laboring mothers hands because if she touches her eyes or her newborns skin with it it will be quite uncomfortable. Best use is diffused in the air, or applied on a cloth or cotton ball for inhaling, or diluted for direct muscle use. Some believe that peppermint oil inhaled can also simulate the urge to pee, thus used for aiding mothers in that first urination postpartum.


Pro tip- if essential oils ever get in your eyes, or feel uncomfortable on your skin, DO NOT ADD WATER. Instead, take a glob of coconut oil and hold at the corner of your eye, just touching the inside, to draw out the oil. On skin you can apply the coconut oil, rub it in and it should dilute the sensation.


7. Tangerine

We call this Despin's(my son) happy oil! It always uplifts my son and puts him in a good mood. Oils affect different people in different ways, and this one really just feels like sunshine. That being said, don't apply it to your skin before spending time in the sunshine, as it can cause sunburns. Tangerine also supports the immune system, works as an antibacterial and antioxidant, and reduces pain. A great mood support oil diffused, or applied to surfaces in the room. If this one doesn't quite do it for you, orange is an acceptable alternative.


8. Rose

Ahhhh. This one though. I adore the smell, and it really allows me to enter that state of peaceful meditation, escape, prayer. It is spritual, uplifting, and grounding all at the same time. Rose can ease anxiety, settle nerves, aide in depression and pain, and give a boost to hormones that are linked to your libido. If you don't know- the feelings, emotions, and hormones responsible for romance and sex, are the same that aide in birth and labor. This oil is a great way to stimulate those feelings in any space. This oil can also provide opportunity for connection and the tender strengthening of a relationship. Perfect for an intentional moment between the birthing person and their spouse/partner, or any other support person they want to take a moment with.

Use it in a diffuser, directly on the skin, diluted, in the hair, or in a massage oil.


9. Jasmine

This one is one of the most used oils in labor across the world. It can be used as a massage oil, and is believed to reduce labor pains. It also smells heavenly. It can be used in an oil mixture, on the skin, in the hair, and in the air. A lovely lovely oil that should not be overlooked.


10. Angelica

Angelica is another one of those scents that just feels angelic, otherworldly, beautiful. It can promote blood flow and digestion, ease spasms and shakes, reduce stress and headaches, relax your mind while energizing your body. It supports so many of the body's systems, and has a beautiful effect during labor. Best used in a diffuser in my experience.


These are my most used oils, but there are soooo many more with a ton of variations in use and benefit. Some other great ones to research are: chamomile, geranium, palo Santo (in oil or wood form), Myrrh, Ylang Ylang, and wild orange.


Pro tip #2: Magnesium spray is also a great tool. Working as a muscle relaxer and a nausea and pain reliever. Magnesium is a vital mineral for our bodies and most women are deficient. If you spray it on your skin (a spray is best because magnesium is best absorbed through the skin) and it tingles, its a sign that you are low and your body needs more.



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