Essential Oils for Labour & Childbirth


Essential oils for labour
Photography: Denise Balyoz

My journey with essential oils began back in 2016 when I was trying to recover from the postpartum arthritis flare-up I was in since having my son. I’d been in remission for a long time so navigating myself through a flare-up, now also with baby in tow, and with all the challenges that come with the transition into motherhood, was as demanding emotionally as it was physically. And yet what I have disovered is that each time it happens I learn something new, and each time it changes me profoundly.

During this flare-up after having Braxton, I kept asking in my meditations for guidance. Soon after, The Truth About Cancer documentary was released and I watched it immediately, and one of the things I connected to the most from watching it, was Frankincense.

After researching it, I knew that if I was going to take any essential oils internally, they had to be the very purest quality, which is how I came across doTERRA, whose purity and ethical sourcing seemed second to none and is why I chose this brand.

I began using Frankincense internally, topically and aromatically as advised, and began to see a reduction in swelling almost immediately. It was my new elixir.

A friend of mine was a doTERRA wellness advocate so I got it through her, and each time I ordered another bottle, she spoke to me about harnessing the power of using oils collectively. Each time I refused to be open about it. I had enough to contend with, I didn’t need to start learning about essential oils on top of it all.

But one day I accepted her offer to come to my house and give a little talk and demo to the girls in the natural parenting group I run from my house. Of course after hearing her speak and smelling all the oils, I couldn’t refuse and I bought my first kit.

I decided that if I was going to invest in these oils – and it is an investment – I needed to invest my time, too, and really learnt about them. It takes a while; there is so much information and there are so many oils – it’s impossible to learn all about them within a month, even within a year – but within a year I had started using them more frequently, and began seeing huge changes, and adding to my collection monthly.

In time, essential oils became a necessary part of my daily wellness toolkit, in the same way my homeopathic kit is, and I began using them for everything for my family including sleep, calming, head lice (prevention and treatment), home cleaning products, immune boosting, coughs and colds, emotion elevating, inflammation (I added more inflammatory oils instead of just Frankincense, and the oils in the blends complemented each other so much that they had greater healing powers), weight loss, digestion, aches and pains, injuries and I even began using them in cooking, for example Ginger essential oils in my Gingerbread Brownies, Wild Orange or Lavender in my Hot Cacao and Peppermint and Lemon for a whole range of things.

And then I got pregnant again. I hadn’t had the chance to use the oils in my last pregnancy but was so excited to be able to use them and benefit from them now, but mostly, I knew that I was going to use them, and hopefully benefit greatly from them, in labour.

We’d planned a home birth and so when the day came and contractions began, I had all my oils out on the table in our lounge, ready to use, as well as a print-out of the diffuser blends I wanted, for Daniel to follow, and massage blends I’d pre-made.

Alongside our preparation for a physiological birth, with hypnobirthing, yoga and meditation, and alongside my homeopathic birthing kit, the oils played such a huge part, and I wanted to share with you exactly what I used and how, in the hope that it will play a positive role in your own birth…

NB – some of the oils I mention are pre-made blends available only from doTERRA. If you’d like more information or would like to order any, please contact Denise Balyoz ( and quote Lauren V.

MASSAGE BLENDS (to pre-make in little glass jars):
I made 2 massage blends using a base of fractionated coconut oil (FCO) (coconut oil that is readily melted):

Massage blend 1: Lavender, Frankincense, Peppermint, Clary Sage
Instructions: 6 drops of each except Clary Sage which should only be 1 drop, into a base of FCO. Clary Sage can induce contractions and should be used carefully and intuitively.

Massage blend 2: AromaTouch (a pre-made blend, perfect for massages)
10 drops into a base of FCO. This one can also be used during your pregnancy.

How to use:
Ask your birthing partner to learn specific massage techniques for labour, and to use these blends depending on your mood. The AromaTouch blend is more for the beginning of labour, when back pain starts to kick in a little, and the first blend is for when you are in active labour, to help calm and loosen.

We had the diffuser going with one or other of these blends throughout, and changed them depending on our needs. The midwives said our house smelled like a spa! The amount of drops you need in water of each oil will depend on the size of the room you are in, so just use your intuition.

Early labour
1. Wild Orange, Bergamot, Rosemary – this is my favourite blend and can be used at any point during labour to both calm and uplift at the same time
2. Vetiver and Ylang Ylang – a frangrant, pungent blend of which oils should be used sparingly. Vetiver helps with pain relief and helps the brain to calm, and Ylang Ylang lowers stress, is calming and is also an aphrodisiac, and some women, believe it or not, reach a state of bliss during childbirth, something Ylang Ylang can help with
3. Any of the citrus oils (orange, lemon, bergamot etc) OR Citrus Bliss – simply uplifting and energising

As labour begins to progress more and more:
Balance – a doTERRA blend which can just balance your emotions and be an anchor for you emotionally and physically while things start kicking off

Transition (pushing):
Frankincense & Geranium in the diffuser – each of these have too many properties to mention. They are hugely healing, grounding and calming and are perfect for your transitioning period
Peppermint or Lavender – one drop in partner’s hands, rubbed together and held under your nose. The one you choose will be dependent on your mood. I thought I’d need Peppermint but Daniel could sense I needed Lavender so chose to use this

For baby:
Once baby is delivered safely, take a drop of Balance, rub in your hands and very gently and sparingly graze over baby’s head

Placenta Delivery:
Ask your partner to use a couple of drops each of Lavender and Clary Sage in a tbsp of FCO (or any natural carrier oil) and rub over abdomen to encourage the placenta to deliver, as well as a drop of Clary Sage in your own hands, rubbed together and then breathed in.

There are many other oils that can benefit you during labour and childbirth, but I’ve tried to choose a select few to make it less daunting. Do use your own intuition. If you have oils that you love, your birthing body will be sure to love them too!

I really hope this helps you in your birthing journey and please do share your experiences with me! You can also see my birthing video on my IGTV on Instagram.

Love, health & baby dust,

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