Bringing a new human being into the world is not easy. In fact, it is rather painful and complicated and takes a lot of careful preparation in advance. Labor can be induced, but not until the baby is ready! When that time comes, you can use essential oils to induce labor naturally.
Here’s a sneak peak at what you’ll be reading about in this article:
- A few introduction words on labor and new term regulations. Plus, why use essential oils for labor induction.
- Best essential oils to start labor, with pros and cons for each.
- Safe ways to use these aromatic oils when you want to give your baby a nudge into the world.
- Essential oil recipes to help with labor induction.
- Labor facts and post-labor care. Details about why it is risky to induce labor artificially. Find out ideas and more details, as well as safety tips to start contractions naturally.
Best Essential Oils to Induce Labor, Pros & Cons, How to Use and Recipes
Labor, as a general term, defines doing something with difficulty, despite hard work. In pregnancy, labor defines the moment the baby is ready to get out of the womb. All the muscles contract to push him out.
Inducing artificial labor comes with many risks and is also very painful. Even so, this practice has increased in the last 10 years.
There are, of course, situations when medically speaking, there is no alternative. Labor induction can actually save lives. But I’m talking about the other situations, when a woman on term still has a choice.
Once you’re closing in on the final term of your pregnancy, you should find out what the protocol for the due date is. Until recently, full-term pregnancies were considered to vary between 37 – 42 weeks. It was a pretty general thing. But things have changed a lot in the past decade.
Technology is more advanced now. There are more accurate methods of determining the date of conception. Thus, the due date is also more accurate.
In Maryland, 2012, experts and stakeholders met for a workshop. The experts were:
- The World Health Organization,
- The March of Dimes,
- The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,
- The American Academy of Pediatrics,
- And others.
After that meeting, we have now new and more accurate definitions for what “pregnancy term” means. According to recent data, babies do better if they’re born between 39 and 40 weeks, 6 days.
The newest guidelines tell that:
- An early term is at 37 weeks – 38 weeks, 6 days. Fetal mortality is a lot higher now.
- A full term is between 39 weeks – 40 weeks, 6 days. Infant mortality is lowest.
- A late term is between 41 weeks and 41, 6 days. Infant mortality rises again.
- And a post term is at 42 weeks +. Fetal mortality is higher after this time.
In view of these new guidelines, you can have a serious talk with your doctor and have him explain everything. Keep in mind that inducing labor is not only risky, but also very costly. I will tell you more about this matter in the last part of the article.
But, if you find yourself in that small window of 2 weeks (of the full term), you can try to induce labor naturally. Never earlier, unless it is medically necessary, of course!
The question is how can you use essential oils to induce labor? Some oils have a powerful antibacterial effect. Others have a more sedative effect and so on.
In labor induction, you need uterotonic agents and this is where oils can help. Some of them have the ability to stimulate the uterus muscles and cause contractions.
Besides being uterotonic, they also have anti-inflammatory and sedating properties. Some oils have been found effective in helping the mother relax and cope with the pain and anxiety.
These are always useful during labor. Let’s see up close what the best essential oils to induce labor are and why.
1) Clove Essential Oil
Botanical name: Eugenia caryophyllus.
- Clove is one of the best essential oils to start labor. The high content of eugenol makes it so. It has spasmolytic effects that favor muscle relaxation between contractions.
- The oil promotes contractions and it also has sedating properties.
- It has a strong anesthetic effect too, which is comparable to lidocaine.
- Not only can it induce labor, but Clove oil can also soothe inflammation and help with infections. It has a fast antibacterial action.
- Clove essential oil is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Never use/inhale this essence before term!
- The oil can irritate the nasal mucus if inhaled alone. Always mix it with another lighter essence. Citrus oils are the best for this purpose.
- Do not use this oil with anticoagulant medication.
Why I like it:
Since the oil is recommended strictly to induce labor, it is a huge help. Aromatherapy has been proven useful during childbirth and this oil is at the top. Plus, it can also help with the pain, anxiety, and infections.
2) Sweet Orange Essential Oil
Botanical name: Citrus sinensis.
- Orange essential oil is the very definition of freshness and fruity. Its scent is given by 90% limonene. These molecules have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties.
- The oil is very sedating and calming and causes the muscles to contract. In fact, one study found the oil to decrease the level of pain during labor.
- Being an anti-anxiety oil, Orange can lower blood pressure and heart rate of women in labor. Stress and anxiety during labor can lead to fetal hypoxia. Hypoxia means the baby doesn’t get enough oxygen. Or it may lead to placental insufficiency. It is a complication that can’t further support the developing baby.
- The oil is phototoxic, which means it can cause skin burns or irritation in the sun.
- Avoid its use if you have asthma.
- A large dosage of Orange oil can cause seizures.
Why I like it:
Even though it is a good essential oil for labor induction, Orange is also uplifting. It is easy to carry with you to the hospital and it’s not costly either. Plus, the oil can be used after childbirth too.
3) Sage Essential Oil
Botanical name: Salvia officinalis.
- Sage essential oil showed significant pain relieving effects. It did so within 30 minutes of diffusion.
- This labor inducing essential oil can also shorten the labor stages.
- Sage can increase oxytocin level. Oxytocin is a hormone that starts labor contractions.
- Sage essential oil should not be used by women with epilepsy. Especially in the first 3 months of pregnancy.
- It is not recommended during the lactation period either.
- Sage must not be used if you suffer from respiratory allergies.
Why I like it:
The oil of Sage can do a great job on its own. But in the above link, you’ll find a study which used Sage with Jasmine essential oil. Sage oil is useful to induce labor and relieve pain. But it is also great for women at menopause.
Make sure you test all essential oils on a small skin patch before widespread use. Each new bottle presents the risk of skin allergies. Make sure you also talk to your doctor about using Aromatherapy oils to induce labor too.
You must also keep your expectations real. If an essential oil was that powerful in labor induction, it would have been used in hospitals too. At home though, they could trigger contractions, as per some studies.
Other good essential oils to start labor:
- Clary Sage
How to Use Essential Oils for Labor Induction
In those painful moments, you might be tempted to take an oil orally. I suggest talking to your doctor in advance about taking essential oils orally. Also, it’s important to know the exact term of your pregnancy!
That’ll help you know when to start using natural remedies to induce labor. It’s important to do it on the term, in those 2 weeks window.
There are a few pleasant ways in which you can use essential oils to induce labor.
Mix 20% of essential oil with a carrier oil and have someone massage your back every 2 hours with it. Always dilute your essential oils before any topical application.
The best carrier oils for labor induction are Macadamia, Castor and Evening Primrose. They can prep the uterus and boost prostaglandin production.
Evening Primrose oil was found useful in:
- Labor induction.
- Shortening labor stages.
- Ripening the cervix (the lower end of the uterus).
- Soothing breast pain.
This is the fastest way to get up to 70% of the essential oil molecules into your body. Inhalations work faster too. You can diffuse for 20 minutes until the olfactory receptors become insensitive. Here’s a guide on how to diffuse oils correctly.
It usually depends on the space where you’ll be in labor. But you can diffuse between 10 – 20 drops of essential oils to induce labor.
c) Aromatic baths
They can be bathtub baths or foot baths. The idea is to mix your oils with some salt or honey/milk to disperse the molecules evenly.
The oils need a neutral environment to be diluted in, otherwise, they will pool and float in one place. For a bathtub full of hot water, you can add up to 20 drops of EO and less for foot baths.
Aromatherapy Labor Inducing Blends
Choose any of the following recipes to test at home (and try at the hospital). Make your own blend and keep it in a roll-on or spray bottle for faster and easier application.
Aromatherapy Inducing Labor Diffuser Recipe
- Sage essential oil: 40 drops
- Clove essential oil: 40 drops
- Rosewood essential oil: 20 drops
Store this mix in a dark glass bottle. Essential oils can slowly dissolve plastic. Use 5 – 10 drops of this blend in your diffuser, every 2 hours.
Make sure the room is well ventilated and don’t keep the device on for longer than 20 minutes. Otherwise, you risk getting headaches or nausea.
Back Massage Inducing Labor Recipe (Concentrated)
- Evening Primrose oil: 2 tablespoons
- Macadamia oil: 2 tablespoons
- Orange essential oil: 20 drops
- Clary Sage essential oil: 10 drops
- Clove essential oil: 10 drops
Have someone massage your back, insisting on the lower area every 2 hours. Shake the blend well before use to activate the oil molecules.
All these labor inducing essential oils must be used in that 2-week window of the full term (39 weeks – 40 weeks, 6 days).
Labor Facts, Tips and Post-Labor Care
If there are medical complications, doctors can induce labor with the help of synthesized oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that induces uterus contractions and lactation.
The baby’s lungs, when fully developed, promote the production of oxytocin. Oxytocin is lab made (Pitocin) and used in hospitals, as an IV infusion to induce labor.
Unfortunately, many women prefer to request labor induction for non-medical or social reasons. A forced labor can be very painful and have many health risks, for both the mother and the baby. It’s because of the pain that most women ask for an induced labor and a c-section.
Aromatherapy induced labor (with essential oils) is a natural way of speeding up the birth process. The oils can trigger the production of oxytocin and thus, help deliver the baby. Natural labor is still painful but not as much as a forced one.
Plus, using essential oils to induce labor can also help you relax more. That’ll help the baby born without serious complications.
Once the labor is finished and the baby is born, your whole body needs to be well taken care of. All the organs will work at full capacity to restore everything back to its original state.
The muscles will decontract and shrink, which will cause painful cramps.
“After-the-war” open wounds and tears will start closing in and healing. These too can cause discomfort and pain. Your hormonal balance is still unstable and that can lead to postpartum depression.
In other words, besides taking care of the newborn day and night, you’ll somehow have to find time to rest well, eat well and relax every day.
For 6 months after childbirth, your body will need special attention and care. It’s a lot and that can too weigh heavy on your mind and body. Don’t hesitate to accept help from your husband, family or friends.
That’ll give you time to do something enjoyable. That’ll also help you charge your batteries for even sweeter moments with the little one.
The most affected organ in a natural birth (vaginal) will be the uterus and the perineum. It is the outside, surrounding area of the anus, vagina, and bladder. It is an area full of muscles.
After birth, the tissue relaxes and may be difficult to regain its initial tonus. This may lead to urinary leakage and even urinary incontinence later in life.
Here are a few tips to help restore these organs faster:
- Exercising is a good way of getting back the tonus of your perineum.
- Abs work very well.
- But you can also suck in your stomach while blocking your breath. At the same time open your rib cage and repeat for about 10 sessions. Seek the counsel of a physiotherapist trained in perineal and pelvic rehabilitation.
- Massage your perineum daily with carrier oils to complete the protocol of perineum re-education. This is a French method, supported and paid for by their Government.
Labor Inducing Tips plus Safety
Natural is usually good and healthy, but too much of anything can cause problems. Labor Inducing essential oils can do a lot of good and they have very few risks or side effects.
But their improper use can also cause serious problems to the mother and the baby.
- Using Aromatherapy to induce labor should be done only in your term. Make sure you’ve talked to your doctor in advance.
- Do your research well before deciding upon a certain essence. You’ll need to take into consideration their cons too, not just their pros.
- Stop using them after labor and birth.
- Do not use large amounts or for very long periods of time.
- For topical applications, all essential oils used to start labor must be diluted.
- Those labor inducing oils are prohibited during pregnancy.
- Buy only 100% pure essential oils.
- Drink plenty of water and take long, aromatic baths to relax.
- Before labor, you can eat bananas, dry fruits, spicy foods, and pineapple. They can help induce labor naturally.
- Exercise breathing techniques.
Childbirth can be stressful, painful and exhaustive. But the effort is well worth it and it’s been done forever. Luckily, today there is much more knowledge and technology. This makes it easier on the pregnant woman.
In some undeveloped countries, pregnant women are still in grave danger when giving birth. But for the most part, the world is better equipped to bring new babies into the world.
Natural remedies such as essential oils to induce labor are easy to find and use. They’re cost-effective and relatively safe when they’re used properly. Many women now turn to Aromatherapy to induce labor and cope with the whole process better.
Do you know anyone who’s tried essential oils for their labor? Have you done it or consider doing it? I’d love to hear more from you!