Which Essential Oils Could Help Induce Labor?
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, essential oils are “highly concentrated aromatic extracts which are distilled from a variety of aromatic plant material including grasses, leaves, flowers, needles and twigs, peel of fruit, wood and roots.” Essential oils have a number of properties including tonic, sedative, and stimulant. Some essential oils are emmenogogue, or stimulate blood flow to the pelvis, and can actually trigger uterine contractions. Labor should never be induced prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy, and only with the guidance of a medical professional.
Clary Sage Essential Oil is one of the most effective labor-inducing agents for pregnant women. Clary sage essential oil is extracted from an aromatic herb known as Salvia sclarea. This herb is native to southern Europe, and it grows up to 1 meter in height with large, hairy leaves, and small blue or white flowers. The oil is obtained from the flowers and leaves by the method of steam distillation. It is loaded with tons of therapeutic attributes like anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, astringent, anti-spasmodic, diuretic, and digestive properties. It helps relieve stress, depression, headaches and migraines, symptoms of PMS, menstruation discomfort, etc. People have experienced relief from their health-related problems by using clary sage oil. Its uses are countless, but one of the numerous benefits is its role in inducing labor. It promotes relaxation and pain relief during childbirth.
Clary sage, salvia sclarea, is less toxic than the garden sage and is extracted by steam distillation from the flowering tops and leaves of the stout herb. It is a colorless or pale yellowy-green liquid with a sweet, herbaceous scent. According to Julia Lawless, author of “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oil,” the oils principal constituents include linalyl acetate, linalol, pinene, myrcene and phellandrene. Lawless says the clean-smelling oil is antidepressant, sedative and uterine, among others.
The American Pregnancy Association (APA) lists clary sage and jasmine as essential oils that can help contractions and ease muscular pain. Pain can sometimes slow or halt the progress of contractions. To stimulate labor contractions, clary sage can be mixed with a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil and massaged into the abdomen.
Renowned as the “King of Flowers,” Jasmine is prized for its delicate white flowers, which emit a highly fragrant aroma for up to 36 hours after being hand-picked. Extracting Jasmine is labor-intensive and must be done at daybreak, when the flowers are most fragrant and have the highest percentage of components intact. Jasmine essential oil provides a myriad of benefits, both aromatically and topically. Its esteemed fragrance can be calming, yet euphoric, instilling a positive outlook. Emotionally, Jasmine promotes feelings of joy, peace, and self-confidence. Jasmine is known to reduce the appearance of skin imperfections and promote healthy looking, radiant skin. Jasmine may also be beneficial in nourishing and protecting the scalp. Due to the large amount of flowers needed to produce a small amount of oil, Jasmine is highly sought after in both the perfume industry and in aromatherapy.
These constituents give jasmine its antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac and uterine tonic properties. Lawless states that jasmine has long been used to “warm the womb and facilitate birth.” Jasmine can be massaged into the skin by adding a few drops to a carrier oil or diffused into the air.
Lavender Essential Oil, lavandula angustifolia, is best known for its ability to calm and sedate, lavender essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the flowering tops of the tall, woody shrub, although the entire plant is highly aromatic.
Lawless states that lavender is an emmenagogue, which stimulates contractions of the uterus and encourages menstruation. According to the APA, lavender can help create a tranquil, relaxing atmosphere which can reduce pain and facilitate contractions.
Lavender can be applied directly to the skin, mixed with a carrier oil, diffused into the air, or mixed with water and sprayed onto the skin. A light mist to the face is especially refreshing during labor.
How You Can Use Essential Oils to Help Induce Labor
Method #1 Dip a few cotton balls in the oil, and keep them under the expecting mother’s pillow. The pungent smell emanated from these balls helps relieve muscle tension and reduce stress levels. The smell also helps quicken the labor process by intensifying muscle contractions.
Method #2 Apply a few drops of oil on the belly of the pregnant woman, but only under the guidance of a doctor. This aromatic essential oil is known to create a feeling of euphoria, which helps alleviate labor pain.
Method #3 Mix 10 drops of clary sage oil with 50 ml of almond oil. Massage this resultant oil on the palm and feet of the woman shortly before labor. It releases muscle tension, and thereby, provides the necessary calm and comfort to the mother. It also helps in muscle dilation required for the baby to come out.
Method #4 Soak in the goodness of these oils (3 to 5 drops total) to induce labor by mixing it in ½ cup Epson Salts, and ½ teaspoon Baking Soda then pour it into your bathtub with warm water. This helps promote uterine contractions for a less painful and easier delivery.
The sense of touch and smell can work miracles on your body. It would be such a joyous moment to have your baby in your arms after a successful and painless delivery. Clary sage oil is one of the best ways to experience the goodness of nature. Its benefits have been researched well; however, it is best to use it after consulting your midwife or doctor.
How to use Acupressure to Help Induce Labor
Acupressure involves applying pressure using your fingers and thumbs on specific points. Using acupressure is a natural way to induce labor by helping the cervix to ripen and dilate. This is a completely safe way to induce labor for both mother and baby. Here are some acupressure techniques that you can use to induce labor.
Push on the Hoku Spot which can be found on the top of your hand. It is located in the webbing between your forefinger and your thumb. Massage this area at an angle to stimulate contractions. It may feel slightly tender in this area. This affects the large intestine which surrounds a portion of the uterus.
Rub the area called Spleen 6 for one minute. To find this area, place four fingers above your ankle bone on the inside of your ankle. Applying pressure to this point helps ripen the cervix and strengthen weak contractions.
Apply pressure to BL60 to help the baby descend toward the pelvis. You can find this spot between your ankle bone and Achilles tendon.
Press and rub these spots in a circular motion. It should feel sore or tender but not painful. Remove pressure when you feel a contraction. Continue with the acupressure after the contraction has subsided.
Repeat applying pressure to these spots. You can repeat up to six cycles per time. Apply less pressure if it becomes painful.
Use these same techniques in the labor room. They can help ease your labor pains.
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Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.