Aromatherapy In Labor

Maternity Support Specialist Erica Chidi shares the 7 essential oils that will ease your labor pains, and a DIY labor oil for the big day.

Aromatherapy In Labor

Even with all the prep your child-birthing class provides, it’s nice to keep a few tricks up your sleeve for when labor day actually arrives. Integrating aromatherapy -- the art of using essential plant and flower oils to promote health and well-being in the body -- into your birth plan is a great way to prime and support your body during labor. In labor, oils can be used at different stages in a myriad of ways. As a doula, I've found aromatherapy most helpful during the early and active stages of labor. When used correctly, aromatherapy can make a successful shift and center the mother's energy. To truly reap the benefits of aromatherapy, the essential oils should be pure and therapeutic grade. Make sure the oils don't contain any synthetic fragrances, volume extenders, or less expensive oils as substitutes. Oils that are certified organic or ethically wildcrafted tend to be correctly extracted and from a reliable source. The right oils are excellent during labor. The ones below are all safe to use during pregnancy, except for clary sage (it should be avoided until labor begins, because it's a uterine stimulant and could cause premature contractions). Neroli, rose and ylang ylang oil blend together beautifully, but are equally effective when used individually. Peppermint is best used on its own in the second stage of labor, when you need a little "pick me up." If you plan to use the oils directly on your skin, make sure to dilute them with a cold-pressed carrier oil, like almond, grapeseed or apricot kernel oil. However, lavender can be used right on the skin. Be mindful: these oils are potent and should be used sparingly. Before heading into the L&D, it’s a good idea to build a positive association with your selected oil or chosen blend by incorporating them into any relaxation practices during pregnancy. It's also a great way to determine your sensitivity and figure out whether you like the scent of the oils on your skin. Aromatherapy is perfect in long bath, while you meditate, or before you go to bed. Make sure to discuss aromatherapy with your care provider before using any essential oils. Here are the seven oils you’ll want to make room for in your hospital bag. 1. Neroli : Releases stagnant energy and encourages calm breathing 2. Clary Sage ( avoid during pregnancy): promotes smooth contractions & provides pain relief 3. Rose Absolute: Encourages softening in pelvic ligaments & decreases anxiety 4. Geranium: Promotes mental balance and circulatory stimulation 5. Ylang -Ylang: Encourages relaxation and lowers blood pressure 6. Lavender: Eases breathing, provides pain relief and promotes deep relaxation 7. Peppermint: Reduces nausea and revives energy And here are a few methods your partner or labor support can try: Massage: Add 12 to 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. Apply to the skin on popular labor massage points like the shoulders, hands and feet. Compress: Add 8 to 10 drops of essential oil to two cups of hot or cold water. Stir to disperse oils. Soak a small washcloth, wring and place on the forehead. Repeat process every 15 minutes. Shower or Bath: Add 10 to 15 drops of essential oil to a full bath, or drop the same amount of oil on the floor of the shower for a similar aromatic effect. Diffuser: Add 15 to 20 drops of essential oil to your selected diffuser. If you're in the hospital, where open flames are prohibited, consider using a battery or electrical powered flameless diffuser. Inhalation: Place 1 to 3 drops of essential oil on a cloth or your hands. Agitate the cloth or rub hands to distribute and heat the oil, place hands or cloth over your face, and breath deeply. You can also make this DIY labor oil at home. Remember: a little goes a long way. What You'll Need Organic Sweet Almond Oil Neroli Essential Oil Rose Absolute Essential Oil Ylang Ylang Essential Oil 3 Oz Amber Glass Roll On Bottle * Pen Sticker or Labels * Any dark-colored container will do. This amber glass roll-on bottle is great, because it allows for easy, mess-free application. Directions 1. Pour 5 tablespoons sweet almond oil into the roll on bottle. 2. Add in 6 drops of Neroli, 4 drops Rose Absolute and 3 drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil. 3. Shake well to mix -- and that's it! Once you're done, attach a sticker to the bottle and date it. If you have room, write a positive affirmation that resonates with you and your upcoming birth experience. I chose the words "ground," "open," and "breathe," because during labor, I often ask my clients to ground their energy, open up their heart, and breathe deeply.

These new arrivals from the Motherly Shop are *so* good you need them all

Noodle and Boo, Mushie and Plan Toys—everything you need, mama.

Motherhood is hard work—finding great products and brands to make the journey easier doesn't have to be. Each week, we stock the Motherly Shop with brilliant new products we know you'll need and love from brands and makers that really care.

So, what's new this week?

Noodle and Boo: Holistic baby skin care

Through working with chemists who specialize in natural and holistic skin care, Noodle and Boo has developed exclusive formulas that nourish, replenish and protect especially delicate, eczema-prone and sensitive skin—including laundry detergent. Their signature, obsession-worthy scent—which is subtly sweet, pure and fresh—is the closest thing to bottling up "baby smell" we've ever found.

Mushie: Kids' dinnerware that actually looks great

We're totally crushing on Mushie's minimalist dinnerware for kids. Their innovative baby and toddler products leverage Swedish design to marry both form and function while putting safety front and center. Everything is created in soft, muted colors from BPA-free materials.

Plan Toys: Open-ended toys that last

Corralling and cleaning up the toys becomes less stressful when you bring home fewer, better, more beautiful ones. Plan Toys checks all the boxes. Made from re-purposed rubber wood, they're better for the planet as well.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Mushie silicone baby bib

Mushie silicone baby bib

There's no going back to cloth bibs after falling in love with this Swedish design. The pocket catches whatever misses their mouths and the BPA-free silicone is waterproof and easy to wipe down between uses.


Mushie kids' square dinnerware plate set

Mushie kids' square dinnerware plate set

We're totally crushing on the soft muted colors that flow with our table aesthetics and the thoughtful high-sided design that helps babies and toddler who are learning to feed themselves.


Noodle and Boo nursery essentials kit

Noodle and Boo nursery essentials kit

Stocked with everything a new mama needs to care for her little one's delicate skin, Noodle and Boo's nursery essentials gift set is the perfect way to create a holistic and natural skin care routine from day one.


Plan Toys doctor set 

Plan Toys doctor set

Ideal for quiet time and imaginative role play, we love the gorgeous planet-friendly doctor kit from Plan Toys. The rubber wood stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, syringe and reflex hammer pack up neat and tidy into the red cotton case should they need to dash off on a rescue mission.


Noodle and Boo instant hand sanitizer

Noodle and Boo instant hand sanitizer

Since we're buying and using hand sanitizer by the truckload these days, we're thrilled Noodle and Boo has made one we can feel good about using on little ones who cram their hands in their mouths 24/7. Not only does it kill 99.9% of germs, but it also leaves hands moisturized as well.


Plan Toys natural wooden blocks set

Plan Toys natural wooden blocks set

A toy box isn't complete without a set of blocks—and this set is one of our new favorites. The sustainable, re-purposed wood is eco-friendly, comes at a relatively affordable price point and are certain to last well beyond multiple kids, hand-me-downs and even generations.


Noodle and Boo family fun pack cleansing set

Noodle and Boo family fun pack cleansing set

Because their products were developed for delicate and eczema-prone skin, Noodle and Boo's full line of skin care has become a favorite among those with sensitive skin of all ages. This set is the perfect way to pamper the entire family.


Mushie kids' round dinnerware bowl set

Mushie kids' round dinnerware bowl set

No need to sacrifice safety or design with the sustainable dinnerware from Mushie. Their minimalist, functional dishes are perfect for serving up meals and snacks to your tablemates who might hurl it to the floor at any point. They're made in Denmark from BPA-free polypropylene plastic mamas can feel good about and dishwasher and microwave-safe as well.


Plan Toys geo stacking blocks

Plan Toys geo stacking blocks

The best engaging, open-ended toys are the ones that are left out and available, inviting little (and big!) ones to play. These beautiful gem-like blocks make for addicting coffee table play for the entire family.


Plan Toys wooden green dollhouse

Plan Toys wooden green dollhouse

Energy-efficient design isn't just for grown-up real estate. This green dollhouse includes a wind turbine, a solar cell panel, electric inverter, recycling bins, a rain barrel, a biofacade and a blind that can adjust the amount of sunlight and air circulation along with minimalist furniture we'd totally love to have in our own houses.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


In Montessori schools, parents are periodically invited to observe their children at work in the classroom. I have heard many parents express shock to see their 3- or 4-year-old putting away their own work when they finish—without even being asked!

"You should see his room at home!" or, "I ask him to put his toys away every day, and it's a battle every single time" were frequent comments.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play