Does Aromatherapy Help a Woman During Labor

Aromatherapy has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various ailments and conditions. But does aromatherapy help a woman during labor? Many women have turned to this alternative therapy to manage the pain and discomfort associated with childbirth. In this article, we will explore the concept of aromatherapy, its effects on the body during labor, common essential oils used for labor, how to use aromatherapy during labor, real-life success stories, and safety precautions to consider.

Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. It is believed that certain scents can trigger reactions in the body that promote relaxation, reduce stress, and alleviate discomfort. During labor, aromatherapy may be used to help ease pain, promote relaxation, and provide emotional support for women.

The science behind aromatherapy and its effects on the body during labor will be explored in this article. Additionally, we will delve into the different essential oils commonly used for labor and their specific benefits. Whether through diffusers, massage, or inhalation, there are various methods of using aromatherapy during labor that will also be discussed. Stay tuned as we uncover the potential benefits of aromatherapy for women during one of life’s most challenging experiences – childbirth.

The Science Behind Aromatherapy and Its Effects on the Body During Labor

Aromatherapy, the practice of using natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being, has been used for centuries as a natural form of medicine. It is commonly used to reduce anxiety, ease depression, boost energy levels, speed up the healing process, eliminate headaches, boost cognitive performance, induce sleep, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain and improve digestion. But can it assist a woman during labor?

To answer this question in short: Yes. Aromatherapy can effectively help a woman during labor.

During labor, the body goes through various physical and emotional changes. Aromatherapy can help address some of these changes by promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Research has shown that certain essential oils used in aromatherapy have calming effects on the body and mind. They can help to lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of calmness, which can be particularly beneficial during labor.

One key way that aromatherapy affects the body during labor is through the olfactory system – our sense of smell. When essential oils are inhaled, they stimulate the olfactory nerves which then send signals to the brain’s limbic system – the area of the brain that controls emotions and memories.

This stimulation triggers the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which help to regulate mood and decrease feelings of pain and discomfort. Additionally, specific essential oils have been found to have analgesic properties that can help alleviate labor pains.

Common Essential Oils Used for Labor and Their Benefits

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils used during labor due to its calming and relaxing properties. It can help reduce anxiety, stress, and fear, which are common emotions experienced during childbirth. Additionally, lavender oil has been found to help with pain relief, making it a valuable tool for women in labor.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is known for its invigorating and energizing effects. During labor, it can help combat feelings of fatigue and exhaustion, providing a natural energy boost to the mother. In addition, peppermint oil has a cooling effect that can provide relief from hot flashes and discomfort associated with labor.

Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil has been used for centuries for its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress. This makes it a valuable essential oil for women in labor, as it can help create a peaceful and serene environment. Frankincense oil is also believed to have properties that may help with pain management, making it an ideal choice for use during childbirth.

What Aromatherapy Scents Do

When considering the use of essential oils during labor, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider or a certified aromatherapist to ensure that the chosen oils are safe for use during pregnancy and childbirth. Additionally, it’s crucial to consider any allergies or sensitivities that the mother-to-be may have before using essential oils during labor.

Overall, understanding the benefits and safety considerations of each essential oil can help women make informed decisions regarding their use during this significant event in their lives.

How to Use Aromatherapy During Labor

Aromatherapy can be a beneficial and natural way to help women relax and manage pain during labor. There are several methods for using aromatherapy during labor, including diffusers, massage, and inhalation. Understanding how to properly use these methods can help maximize the benefits of aromatherapy during labor.


Using a diffuser is a popular method for incorporating essential oils into the birthing environment. The diffuser disperses the scent of the oil throughout the room, allowing the laboring woman to inhale the aroma and experience its therapeutic benefits. Some commonly used essential oils for labor include lavender, chamomile, and frankincense. A diffuser can create a calming atmosphere in the birthing room and help the woman to relax as she goes through contractions.


Another effective way to use aromatherapy during labor is through massage with diluted essential oils. When applied to the skin through gentle massage, essential oils can provide pain relief and relaxation. For example, massaging the lower back with clary sage or peppermint oil can help alleviate discomfort during contractions. It is important to ensure that essential oils are properly diluted in a carrier oil before being applied to the skin.


Inhaling essential oils directly from a bottle or on a cloth is also an effective method for using aromatherapy during labor. This allows the laboring woman to take deep breaths of the aroma, which can have immediate calming effects. Inhaling essential oils such as lemon, eucalyptus, or rosemary can help reduce feelings of nausea and promote clear breathing during labor.

By utilizing diffusers, massage, and inhalation techniques, women can harness the potential benefits of aromatherapy during labor. It is important for women to work with their healthcare providers to ensure that they are using essential oils safely and effectively throughout their childbirth experience.

Success Stories

Many women have reported positive experiences with using aromatherapy during labor. One common essential oil used is lavender, known for its calming and relaxing properties. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, inhaling lavender essential oil during labor significantly reduced the pain experienced by women. This suggests that aromatherapy can indeed help women manage the discomfort of labor.

In addition to reducing pain, aromatherapy has also been found to decrease anxiety and stress during childbirth. One study conducted at a maternity hospital showed that women who used essential oils such as rose and frankincense reported lower levels of anxiety compared to those who did not use any aromatherapy. The soothing scents of these oils helped create a more relaxed environment, allowing women to focus on their breathing and cope better with the intensity of labor.

Another success story involves the use of peppermint essential oil for nausea relief during labor. Nausea is a common issue for many women during childbirth, but inhaling peppermint oil has been shown to alleviate feelings of queasiness. This can be particularly helpful for women who experience morning sickness or have a sensitive stomach. Overall, the positive experiences shared by women demonstrate that aromatherapy can play a significant role in enhancing the birthing experience.

Essential OilBenefit
LavenderCalming and reduces pain
Rose and FrankincenseReduces anxiety
PeppermintRelieves nausea

Safety Precautions and Considerations When Using Aromatherapy During Labor

When using aromatherapy during labor, it is important to prioritize the safety of both the mother and the baby. Here are some safety precautions and considerations to keep in mind when using aromatherapy during labor:

1. Consult with a Healthcare Provider: Before incorporating aromatherapy into your labor plan, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or allergies. Your healthcare provider can provide guidance on the safe use of essential oils during labor and ensure that they do not interfere with any medical treatments or medications.

How to Mix Aromatherapy Oils for Massage

2. Use High-Quality Essential Oils: When using essential oils during labor, it is important to choose high-quality, pure essential oils from reputable sources. Avoid synthetic or diluted oils, as they may not have the same therapeutic benefits and could potentially cause adverse reactions.

3. Dilution and Proper Usage: Essential oils are highly concentrated and should be diluted before being applied to the skin or used in a diffuser during labor. It is important to follow recommended dilution guidelines and usage instructions provided by aromatherapy practitioners or reputable sources.

4. Sensitivity Testing: Before using a new essential oil during labor, perform a sensitivity test by applying a small diluted amount to the skin and monitoring for any adverse reactions. This can help identify any potential sensitivities or allergic reactions prior to full use during labor.

5. Consideration for Others: If you are planning to use aromatherapy in a hospital setting, it is important to consider the sensitivities of other individuals in the environment. Be mindful of strong scents that may affect those around you, including healthcare providers and other laboring women.

By taking these safety precautions into consideration, you can safely incorporate aromatherapy into your labor experience to help manage pain, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation without compromising the well-being of yourself or your baby.


In conclusion, the use of aromatherapy during labor has been shown to provide various benefits for women. The soothing and calming effects of essential oils can help manage stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and reduce pain perception. Additionally, the use of aromatherapy during labor may also contribute to a more positive birth experience and improved overall well-being for both the mother and baby.

While there is scientific evidence supporting the benefits of aromatherapy during labor, it is important to note that individual responses may vary. Some women may find great relief from using aromatherapy, while others may not experience the same level of benefit. It is crucial for each woman to consider her own preferences, sensitivities, and medical history when deciding whether to incorporate aromatherapy into her birthing plan.

Overall, the use of aromatherapy during labor has the potential to enhance the birthing experience by providing comfort and support for women. Whether through diffusers, massage, or inhalation, using carefully selected essential oils can offer a natural tool for managing stress and promoting relaxation during childbirth. As with any approach to childbirth, it is advisable for women to consult with healthcare professionals and knowledgeable aromatherapists when considering the incorporation of aromatherapy into their birth plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Aromatherapy Is Good for Giving Birth?

Aromatherapy can be beneficial for giving birth as it can help to reduce anxiety, ease discomfort, and create a calming environment. Certain essential oils are known for their ability to promote relaxation and alleviate stress during labor.

What Essential Oils Help Giving Birth?

Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, frankincense, and clary sage are often recommended to help with the birthing process. These oils are believed to have soothing and pain-relieving properties that can be beneficial for women in labor.

What Is the Aromatherapy Roll on for Labour?

An aromatherapy roll-on for labor is a blend of essential oils that is specifically designed to help women during childbirth. This roll-on is often applied to pulse points or inhaled to help manage pain, reduce anxiety, and provide emotional support during labor. The blend typically includes essential oils known for their calming and pain-relieving effects.

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