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Aromatherapy for Labor and Childbirth

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by Francoise Rapp

With all the access we have to information about pregnancy– from websites, to books, to childbirth classes–labor itself remains a mystery in many ways.
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What we do know is that labor is likely the hardest work a woman will endure in her lifetime. It also holds all the beauty, magic and infinite power of life itself.

But it is the unknown that causes most expectant mothers to be scared and apprehensive as the due date nears. More and more women are turning to aromatherapy during their labor to help them cope with the emotional issues facing them.

Resources usually divide labor neatly into three phases, but it’s important to recognize that each childbirth experience is unique. Depending on your emotional needs, consider incorporating no more than two of the following aromatic blends into your childbirth plan.

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First Stage: Early Phase

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During the early phase of labor, contractions begin. While the intensity varies from woman to woman, you will begin to see a pattern in frequency emerging. You should take it easy, relax, take a bath, or even a nap if possible.

You may be feeling a little apprehensive, and the following aromatic blend can help you relax your mind and release your fears.

In a 10-ml bottle, pour the following essential oils and then add organic vegetable oil to fill:

-4 drops Lavender

-2 drops Neroli

Massage your temples, forehead, chest and solar plexus. Take deep breaths.

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First Stage: Active Phase

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During the active phase, contractions become more intense and frequent. It is at this point that your doctors will likely tell you to go to the hospital. The key is to relax in order to gain enough strength for the delivery. A good birth coach is essential to help you with your breathing and relaxation exercises. Try the following aromatherapy blend to bring you peace and harmony.

In a 10-ml bottle, pour the following essential oils and then add organic vegetable oil to fill:

-6 drops Lavender

-1 drop Neroli

-1 drop Rose

Massage your solar plexus, heart chakra, chest and neck. Inhale the blend deeply while resting.

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First Stage: Transitional Phase

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During this phase, contractions will come hard and fast, and symptoms might include shaking, shivering, and nausea. It is important that your birth coach provide you with all the emotional care and attention you need. Once you are done with this phase, you will be fully dilated and ready to begin pushing.

You may be feeling scared and exhausted. Inhale the following blend between the contractions to help you endure this phase, and give you an added boost of strength for the delivery.

In a 10-ml bottle, pour the following essential oils and then add organic vegetable oil to fill:

-4 drops Lavender

-4 drops Sage

-4 drops Peppermint

Massage the lower back, with emphasis on the sacrum.

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Second Stage

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Now that your body has prepared itself for childbirth, you’re likely feeling relieved that the end is finally in sight. And yet you still have a big job ahead of you. Pushing is an exhaustive process, and during this stage you will use all your reserved energy and strength. Many women feel the desire to give up, as the labor thus far has left them emotionally drained.

Inhale the following aromatic blend before you begin pushing to help you to gain the needed courage and emotional strength for this stage.

In a 10-ml bottle, pour the following essential oils and then add organic vegetable oil to fill:

-4 drops Peppermint

-4 drops Rosemary

In Good Health,

Francoise Rapp

This article was originally published by Francoise Rapp in “The Arom’Alchemy Newsletter,” a weekly ezine dedicated to healthy mind, body and soul through the use of aromatherapy.

(c) Francoise Rapp, 2001

This article reprinted with permission.


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