Aromatherapy during labour

Essential oils can be used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. They can be used as single essential oils or in complex essential oil blends depending on user experience and desired benefit.

“Aromatherapy and massage have been proven to be beneficial in labour to facilitate normal birth, reducing the need for pharmacological or surgical intervention as well as enhancing maternal satisfaction and increasing midwives job satisfaction which affected staff retention and recruitment”  (Burns et Al (1999).

Results from the above study of 8058 women demonstrated that:

The uptake of epidural anaesthesia was significantly less for women who used aromatherapy, regardless of parity and labour onset.

There was an association with a reduction in the use of systemic opioids when aromatherapy was used.

Less than 1% of women reported any side effects following the use of aromatherapy. The reported sensitivities were headache, nausea, vomiting or a mild erythemic rash. These symptoms may have been associated with the normal physiology of labour.

Additionally women expressed feelings of empowerment and feeling supported when using aromatherapy. (Burns et al, 2000. Allright et al, 2003. William et al, 2007.)

Aromatherapy aims to enhance women’s overall birth experience by increasing choice and empowerment as recommended by Better Births (2016) and by promoting normality and reducing intervention. Aromatherapy, therefore has the potential to be a safe, effective and cost effective option for women, offering an alternative choice for easing the pain and discomfort of labour and relieving physiological symptoms.

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