Earlier, I shared what was in my hospital bags for when I deliver my twins. I wanted to expand on the oils I chose and my protocol for using each.
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For this birth, I wanted to go as natural as possible, despite being pregnant with twins. Everyone I have encountered along my journey - family, midwives, OBs, sono techs, nurses, etc. - have all assumed and basically pushed the use of an epidural. My goal is to NOT use any pain meds if I can help it. That was the goal with my first pregnancy but, as that ended in an unnecessary cesarean, I was not able to meet that goal. It's going to hurt - twice! They may have to stick their arm up there to turn baby B. What about the chance of an emergency cesarean? They'll have to put me under. And I understand all of those things.
Let's say my labor goes smoothly (fingers crossed) and it's a textbook delivery. I plan on using oils to help me with pain and my emotional state.
Much of my research has come from Gentle Babies by Debra Rayburn, The Chemical Free Home for Baby & Mommy by Melissa Poepping, Modern Alternative Mama, and my amazing upline who is chalk full of doulas and midwives with years of experience. (Side note: I am not one to take the advice of just anyone when it comes to aromatherapy and herbs. I understand that that is the turn off for many people when it comes to MLM companies. The information shared below taken from my upline has been further researched by myself and I did not include things that I could not find hard evidence on.)
All of the oils mentioned are Young Living oils so a few of the blends cannot be purchased elsewhere. However, feel free to purchase the single oils from whatever company you choose to use. I just ask that you do your research first and make sure the quality is what it should be, especially for such a vulnerable time as childbirth.
Here's what I've included and the reasoning behind each.
My Labor Bag Oils:
Surrender is a blend of Lavender, Lemon, Black Spruce, Roman chamomile, Angelica, Mountain Savory, and Matricaria (or Mayweed). It is a calming, soothing blend formulated for individuals who feel a need to be controlling. It helps quiet troubled hearts so that negative emotions can be released. Surrender may also help return feelings of equilibrium and inner strength.
Well, I didn't start off easy on you, did I? Total transparancy: I have never used this oil before. I actually purchased it because I hear it helps with temper tantrums (hello, two year old son!) but became fascinated with it and actually think this will be my most used oil for labor. Obviously, my first birth experience was not one that I'm fond of and I really do still have negative emotions surrounding that story. I know I will need to release those feelings in order to have the best birth possible this go 'round.
I also like the fact that it "may help return feelings of...inner strength" because Lord knows you need all the inner strength you can get during labor! I'm excited to do a follow up post on this oil and let you know how it helped - or didn't.
Clary Sage is THE woman's oil. Although it is contraindicated during pregnancy, it has amazing properties for birth and postpartum. In general, Clary sage is great for fighting depression and relieving anxiety. For labor purposes, it may relax the nervous system, may assist in the birth of the placenta and may prevent postpartum hemorrhage. It is a uterine tonic and may induce labor - hence why it is not suggested for use during pregnancy. I plan to use Clary sage by applying three drops on my inner ankle, little toes, little fingers, lower abdomen, and lower back at the start of labor. If for some reason my labor stalls, I'll take one drop internally every 15 minutes until it picks back up.
During Transition, I'll (let's be honest, my doula will) apply 1-3 drops on my hips, inner ankles, and feet to keep things moving. After the recovery and during postpartum, I'll blend Clary sage with Geranium and Ylang Ylang and use it as an uplifting perfume to ward off any postpartum depression that may be lurking.
Ah, Lavender - the Swiss Army knife of essential oils! I definitely cannot imagine leaving the house without my lavender. Before I switched practices, the first provider I was seeing told me to "douse" myself in lavender daily to keep my anxiety at bay. That was about the only natural thing she suggested but that's another topic for another day!
Not only will I be using lavender as a calming oil but it may also ease pain of childbirth and promote a speedy recovery, help with exhaustion, and reduce the chance of infection. I'll be using it after the birth to ward off postpartum depression, relieve any edema, and diminish those lovely stretch marks I've acquired. SO many uses, y'all!
Fun fact: Did you know lavender is actually in the mint family?
Good ol' Frank. This is another staple! SO many uses but specifically for childbirth, Frankincense may be calming for the first stage of labor and may heal any tearing after birth. I also plan to use it to anoint myself and the babies once they're Earth side. We'll apply it directly to the tops of our heads and have a moment.
Bonus: Frankincense also may promote brain development so I'll be making them little geniuses from the moment they're born!
It may also prevent infection on the cord stump so I'll be applying a drop daily to those until they fall off.
Peppermint is not my number one, favorite oil but probably my most used. For childbirth specifically, I'll be using this in case of any nausea. I'll also be taking a sniff if I'm exhausted and rubbing it on my temples and my forehead if I'm having headaches.
After the birth, when the nurses make you pee to make sure everything is working properly up in there, I'll probably be placing three drops in the toilet to help with that.
Ylang Ylang is another great emotional oil like Clary sage. It's uplifting and relieves stress. It also may decrease blood pressure so that'll be a plus during labor should my blood pressure spike. Because high blood pressure equals cesarean.
I'll also be using it to help move contractions along. I'll apply it to my ankles and wrists with the Clary sage.
Geranium is another floral oil that is great for emotions. It is very calming and is great for postpartum depression. It may also relieve exhaustion so that will come in handy during a lengthy labor.
Lemon is another one I'll have on hand for uplifting my mood. It also may support clarity so when I'm being asked a million questions by the nursing staff in between contractions, I'll use lemon to help me think straight.
I'm going to take a pause and explain why I'm bringing a ton of different oils that potentially have the same properties and uses. This is because during childbirth, I don't know what I'll be able to handle smell wise. I love lavender, but it may absolutely disgust me during labor.
Pro tip: When using essential oils during labor, instead of diffusing an oil in your labor room, bring cotton balls to put the oil on so that you can waft it in front of your nose. Don't like the smell? No worries, just throw the cotton ball away. That way, you don't have to worry about a whole room being saturated with a smell you can't stand in that moment! It's also courteous to the myriad of nurses and others who will be coming in and out of your room.
Valor is probably one of the most popular Young Living blends, and rightfully so! Valor is a blend of Black Spruce, Geranium, Camphor, Blue Tansy, and Frankincense. It's another emotional oil but this one is specifically for courage. I won't even be waiting for the anxiety to kick in, Valor is going on at the very start of labor and sticking with me all the way through. I'll apply it to my temples, over my heart, back of my neck, my shoulders, and on my wrists. At the very, very start of labor, I'll have my husband apply 1-2 drops on my feet with his right hand to my right foot and his left hand to my left foot. I'll have him hold that position until he can feel the energy pulsing. I know that sounds a little woo-woo and hippie but I do believe that it connects energies and we'll need to be connected during this process for sure. For more info, see the Raindrop technique.
Valor is also nicknamed a "chiropractor in a bottle" as it may help with alignment. I've been getting aligned monthly during this pregnancy, but hopefully by placing Valor along the inside and on the bottoms of my feet and massaging it into my hips, it will help to keep me aligned during labor.
So the ONLY reason I initially bought black pepper for was that I had heard it can help in cases of back labor and I wanted to be prepared just in case. However, after more research on my part, I found that black pepper may ease anxious feelings and may encourage alertness and focus. It may also promote circulation. Heck yeah! I personally feel like I may be sneezing a ton if I use it, but we'll see.
This is hands down my absolute favorite oil blend. We use it for our two year old at night to help him sleep better and boy does it work! Gentle Baby is a blend of Roman chamomile, Bergamot, Lemon, Jasmine, Rose, Coriander, Geranium, Palmarosa, Lavender, and Ylang Ylang and it smells AH-MAY-ZING! At least I think so...
We'll be using it to ease any tension in the room and also applying it to my belly and chest to promote bonding with the babies once they're here. It's also a calming oil for the littles and may ease tummy troubles so we definitely have a bottle on hand at all times.
White Angelica is another great blend which includes Ylang Ylang, Coriander, Black Spruce, Melissa, Hyssop, Rose, Bergamot, Myrrh, Geranium, and Sacred Sandalwood. This one calms my two year old down real quick (perk!), but I'll be using it on my shoulders from the start of labor to strengthen my energies and to promote a positive mindset.
Citrus Fresh is a blend of Orange, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin, and Spearmint. I'll be using it to promote digestive support and also to switch up my diffuser during recovery. Hospitals can feel yucky and having a cleansing scent like Citrus Fresh will help with that!
Postpartum, I'll use this one for emotional support as well. Placing a drop or two behind my ears will help any negative emotions to go away.
Joy is a blend of Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Lemon, Coriander, Tangerine, Jasmine, Roman chamomile, Palmarosa, and Rose. This is another one for emotions but it's already pre-blended so, convenient! If I start to feel anxious, I'll apply it like perfume and over my heart. It also may encourage labor and promote bonding with baby. Hence why I'm already starting to apply it like perfume...come on babies!
Stress Away is another blend I'll have handy should I need a change up for emotional support. It is a blend of Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Ocotea, and Lavender. I personally think it smells like Bourbon but it definitely helps to calm me down (maybe because I think I'm drinking Bourbon, lol)
Thieves blend is another one of my most used oils and I won't leave home without it! It's a blend of Clove, Cinnamon bark, Lemon, Eucalyptus radiata, and Rosemary. I will be diffusing this in the hospital to cleanse the air from all of the germies. I also like to put this one on our feet and spines for immune support so we'll be doing that as well, especially since we're starting to enter cold and flu season.
For those of you gasping at some of these ingredients (looking at you Eucalyptus and Rosemary), my son had a well-known and highly respected pediatrician before he was one year old who actually "prescribed" Thieves for immune support so I trust it 100% for all ages.
I'm choosing Aroma Siez over PanAway for my labor experience. This is another blend and consists of basil, marjoram, lavender, peppermint, and cypress and will be another one I go to for aches and pains. My alternative go-to would have been the Deep Relief Roll-on but my doula is allergic to coconut and that is pre-diluted with coconut oil. No worries, Aroma Siez to the rescue!
Why over PanAway? I'm still weary about Wintergreen being around newborns and Aroma Siez doesn't contain wintergreen. Just my personal preference.
Last but certainly not least, I will have fennel with me as well. Fennel and basil are said to help with breastmilk production and I prefer fennel over basil (although the smell is a bit much sometimes). I will be diluting fennel in a carrier oil and placing it on my breasts (not touching my nipples) after each feed to promote my milk coming in. I will also add a drop in some mother's milk tea if needed. I did that occasionally when I was nursing my son and it definitely helped boost my milk supply. I'll just be over here smelling like strong licorice, don't mind me!
Bonus: a drop or two on your tummy after a large meal can help with digestion so I suspect I may be needing it for after I eat the oh-so-yummy hospital food. Diluted and rubbed on the feet of littles helps with tummy troubles too.
The Grand Plan
Knowing this is all tentative and may not all happen, here's the plan on how I'll use each!
Once Labor Starts:
Once at hospital:
Immediately After Birth:
So there you have it! That's my list! I'm so excited to come back and share what I actually used and what worked. Remember, everyone reacts uniquely to different oils and what works for me may not work for you but if you want to give this plan a go, please feel free to do so! Also, these are just some of the oils I use with my clients who wish to include the Essential Oils additional service with their package.
If you're intrigued and want to get started on your oily journey, whether for childbirth or wellness in general, let me know! You can sign up here and when you get started with a Premium Starter Kit, you automatically get a membership with membership pricing at 24% off of everything! You will have access to a private Facebook community where we offer support and encouragement and a place to answer your questions.
*These oils are found in the Premium Starter Kit.
Allesanda received her Bachelors in Behavioral Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in December 2013. She now lives in North Texas with her husband and children. As a doula and educator of infant sleep and eco-friendly living, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, holistic health, and parenting.