Yesterday I gave my beautiful friend Lucy who is 36 weeks pregnant (and carries it so well) a back massage and all for free – well she did give me an old fingered copy of Hello a fair swap if you ask me.  You see, I’ve just done an aromatherapy study day and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a blooming bump to get practising on! The hospital at which I work is offering all low risk women the use of aromatherapy oils to use in labour and there are now around 12 midwives who can now provide this lovely complimentary therapy (excellent bedside manner and a massage – what more could a lady ask for?!).  I bought a few oils and a base oil (Grape Seed) in my local pharmacy and gave my husband and 4 year old a lavender massage before bed (I did attempt to massage the 17 month old but she wouldn’t lie still and ran away laughing).  My husband who generally wakes up in the morning making sounds like a grizzly bear moaning, stumbling from the bedroom to the kitchen to make tea, kids breakfasts and complaining that he hasn’t slept properly for 4 years, said he slept the best he has in ages following his massage (he wanted to turn it into one of those ‘adult massages’ but I quickly put a stop to that sort of nonsense much to his annoyance!) The 4 year old however still woke at 6 but I partly blame the mornings getting lighter, that and the draw of early morning Milkshake on Channel 5 – I mean really, if they didn’t start the programs so early then maybe, just maybe she wouldn’t want to get up in time to see the first run through of pepper pig. Rant over think I better smell some lavender to calm myself down.

The following are some oils that you may find useful:

  • Lavender – You may already be familiar with lavender as a means of promoting a good night’s sleep. The scent is well-known to aid relaxation and promote calm. The oil is also a painkiller that stimulates circulation and healing and may strengthen contractions
  • Clary sage – One of the oils that you should avoid during pregnancy itself, clary sage can strengthen contractions during labour. It’s also a great oil for lifting your spirits and reducing anxiety, but it’s not recommended for use if you are using gas and air (not this blog obviously – you can use that as often as needed)
  • Neroli – Calms and reassures as well as helping relax. Is also a powerful anti-depressant
  • Peppermint – A generally uplifting and refreshing oil
  • Chamomile – Soothing and calming, helps to reduce tensions and anxiety
  • Jasmine – Acts as a uterine tonic, painkiller and anti-spasmodic. Also known to strengthen contractions and can be used in a compress to aid delivery of the placenta
  • Rose – Is a uterine tonic and anti-depressant
  • Geranium – Helps breathing and boost the circulation
  • Majoram – A uterine tonic that also aids breathing and can help to lower blood pressure. It is also an effective pain reliever and antispasmodic


1 drop of essential oil to 5ml grape seed carrier oil. A maximum of three oils may be used in a blend in labour (e.g. 3 drops essential oil to 15 ml grape seed)

Bath (NOT for use in birthing pool)

4 – 6 drops of essential oil added to carrier oil or teaspoon of full fat milk, add to bath after the bath is filled. Once only in labour. Re-run bath/pool but do not top up with water/oils.


4 drops of essential oil in hot or cold water

[Hot for pain / cold for swelling]

Soak flannel, wring out and apply to skin.

When flannel is the same temperature as the skin re-soak and reapply to the skin.

Do this as often as required BUT do not add more essential oil if water is topped up.


1 – 2 drops of undiluted essential oil onto a tissue/taper. May be repeated 2 hourly.

Inhalation 2 – 4 drops of essential oil in a bowl of hot water. Inhale.