Word of warning: If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to the infinite ways essential oils can benefit mom and baby during labor, delivery, and the postpartum days, you’re in the wrong place.
Did I use my essential oils when having Baby #6? Yes, I did. Was I glad I had them? Yes, I was. Did our birth care room smell better than any other in the hospital? Sure did, and we received many a compliment. But here’s the thing. A bit of a confession, if you will: I’m an oily minimalist. (Shhhh, don’t tell. ) Read on, if you dare, and prepare to be underwhelmed.
Did I ever tell you about the time, with Baby #1, that I shoved my husband away and nearly kicked him out of my room because he had the audacity to eat pancakes behind a curtain while I was in labor and then come talk to me. Talk to me with syrup breath. How dare he breathe syrup on me! (Never mind that the poor guy had been up all night and hadn’t eaten for 15 hours.)
All that to say, historically I don’t do well with most scents during labor. I knew that about myself well in advance, and knew that I’d need to keep it simple with my oils despite usage advice in books and on the interwebs. What I enjoy in the everyday may not have settled well in the throes of my back being torn apart by a 6 pound, 15 ounce freight train, so I was super conservative with my oil usage.
What I also knew was that Valor calms me, relaxes my muscles, and is one of my very favorite oils for stressful situations. <—– Unmedicated childbirth with horrible back labor = stressful.
“You have Valor?!” my husband asked, aghast. We laughed later, but yes. I hid a Valor roll on from him for weeks, knowing that 1) it was out of stock and wouldn’t be replaced any time soon, 2) it may be the only remote comfort for me, and 3) it’s his favorite oil, too. A “cure all,” he calls it.
I rolled Valor on my shoulders and my lower back from the moment I knew contractions had started. (Okay, yes. I rolled it on in the days and weeks before labor, too. I needed it.) Let me be perfectly clear here: No amount or brand or type of essential oil is going to take away your labor pains. Bummer, I know. But still, this “courage in a bottle” (<—— Valor’s nickname) did its job. The worst thing about having six children is that you totally know what’s coming, and if your labors are like mine, the anticipation is sometimes more awful than the real thing, making you tense up emotionally and physically.
So, before and during labor = Valor. That’s all I did.
After labor = more Valor, and this time I shared. Lance’s muscles were sore, too, what with pushing his full body weight through his fists into my back for counter pressure. I rolled it on my shoulders, back, and lower belly to help with the after pains.
Also after labor, we cranked up the diffuser. What I didn’t want (and truly didn’t have time for since we were only at the hospital for 3 intense hours before delivery) during labor I craved after. I chose lavender and orange because 1) lavender is super gentle. I had no concerns about using it around my new baby girl, and 2) orange ~ any citrus oil, really ~ is my favorite. Citrus is very energizing and uplifting for me. The two together = healing, calming, and uplifting. Postpartum bliss.
My postpartum ace in the hole was actually a Plan B homemade Healing Lavender Bottom Spray. I wanted to order ClaraDerm. It was out of stock. I finally was able to order Lavaderm, but it didn’t arrive on time. So… I kept it simple. I knew that lavender was all sorts of gentle and healing, recommended for bruising, abrasions, and trauma (<——- hello, new mama bottom!) and witch hazel is cooling and often used for postpartum hemorrhoids (<—– those little circle witch hazel wipe things, I used to stick them on my pad in my underwear) so I put the two together (about a cup of witch hazel and 20 drops of lavender essential oil) and sprayed directly on my bottom and on my pad after every bathroom trip and any other time I wanted it. Bonus? It cost less than $2.
Since coming home from the hospital I continue to diffuse oils daily, sticking with Gentle Baby, Lavender, and some citrus oils. I’ve also taken several epsom salts baths with Gentle Baby, and I still have my Bottom Spray bottle handy. I used my rewards points to stock up on NingXia Red and drink that daily. Really though, that’s about it. I have ordered Roman Chamomile because it is also recommended for use with restless babies, and while my wee one is a well-mannered doll at age 13 days, I want to be prepared for tummy aches and sleeplessness. Just in case.
Other than that, I am content. Are there other oils I could be using? Absolutely, and I have the book Gentle Babies (highly recommended!) to reference when needed. For now, though, with my newborn and my own needs, I’m all about less is more because it’s working for me. Keep it simple, mama.
Interested in using essential oils for your next labor and delivery? Want some Valor just because it is awesomesauce? I feel ya. The bad news is that Valor is out of stock. The good news is that it, along with 10 other popular everyday oils (including Lavender), is available in the Premium Starter Kit. The best news? We’re still celebrating the arrival of our sweet girl, so for the next week, I’ll throw in a 15 mL bottle of Orange Essential Oil (in addition to the reference book I already provide) when you sign up as a wholesale member with the Premium Starter Kit. Instructions and my direct link (member #1367433) can be found here. Offer expires Monday, August 4, at midnight. Shoot me an email to tell me you signed up via this post! (amysfinerthings @ gmail . com)
What comforts get you through labor and delivery? As for postpartum discomforts, this post that I wrote after baby #5 still rings true for me.