I began researching essential oils and childbirth during my second trimester. Most of my sources were lovely blogs filled with stories of personal birthing experiences. I loved reading all of these stories and using their insight to compose my list of oils to include in my hospital bag! I tried to choose oils that I already had or ones that weren't too expensive to add to my collection.
I put together my little bag of oily goodness late in my third trimester. I kept them all together (in my hospital bag) for easy access and gave my husband a detailed list of which oils to use when, where, and for what. Here's the breakdown:
- Lavender. This is one of my favorite oils! I packed a small bottle (undiluted) to use in my diffuser throughout my labor. We started diffusing it as soon as we got into our room. At one point I remember the doctor coming in our room to check on me and saying that the atmosphere felt so calm! Thank you, lavender!
- Peppermint. I remembered getting incredibly nauseous during my labor with Camden so I packed peppermint oil specifically in case that happened again. Sure enough, right as I was getting ready to push, I got super nauseous. Jacob grabbed the peppermint oil and held it under my nose for me to smell. Instantly, my nausea disappeared!
- PanAway roller (diluted with fractionated coconut oil). PanAway is an awesome oil for helping relieve pain and discomfort. Obviously this was a no-brainier to bring along! I could've used it undiluted but I know that my skin is extra sensitive during pregnancy so I chose to dilute it in a roller bottle. Jacob applied this to my back and hips throughout my labor. It definitely help to lessen the pain during contractions!
- Stress Away roller (diluted in fractionated coconut oil). Stress Away is my favorite essential oil blend! It smells wonderful and really helps in those moments of stress! I tend to tense up when I'm stressed out or in pain so I wanted this oil to help me relax. Jacob rolled it on my wrists throughout my labor so that I could smell it whenever I wanted, which was basically nonstop, haha.
- Valor. I was lucky enough to have a very sweet member of an oily group I belong to gift me a bottle of Valor to use during my labor! I got it in the mail a couple days before I had Annabelle, so I tucked it into my hospital bag with the rest of my stash. I wanted this oil specifically for pushing. If you read either of my birth stories, you know that I hate pushing. I was terrified of it with Camden and couldn't seem to shake that fear with Annabelle. Valor promotes feelings of bravery so I knew I needed it in my oily arsenal! Jacob started diffusing Valor as I was hitting 10cm and put a drop on my chest when I was getting ready to push. I truly believe that this oil helped save me from a c-section. Annabelle was face up and presented face first (meaning her little face was the first thing coming out). Because of all the stress and strain, she was very purple as her face presented. There was a sense of urgency, being that we didn't know if something else was causing her discoloration (such as lack of oxygen). The doctors had me pushing nonstop, with and without contractions. I was scared and seriously pushing with all my might. I knew if I wasn't be able to get her out quickly, we could have an emergency c-section on our hands. I remember feeling confident as I pushed, knowing that I could get her out if I just kept going. And even though I didn't end up being one of those women who births their baby with a push or two, it took me less than half the time to birth Annabelle as it did Camden (less than 30 minutes compared to 1.25hrs). I truly think that Valor gave me the extra boost I needed to push so fervently with Annabelle. And now whenever my husband and I smell Valor we're instantly reminded of Annabelle's birth. That scent will always have a strong association for us, and we love it.
- Frankincense. I brought a few drops of Frankincense to anoint Annabelle after her birth. This oil has a multitude of benefits, including healing and brain growth. We didn't dilute the oil but we did apply the drop to my finger before rubbing it on her forehead.
- Gentle Baby. This lovely essential oil blend smells like baby powder and I love it! I made a diaper rash balm for Annabelle using Gentle Baby and coconut oil (which, by the way, has successfully prevented any diaper rashes so far!). I brought the whole bottle to diffuse some after Annabelle's birth. We diffused a combination of this and lavender during most of our stay in the hospital. This oil can also be applied to mom and baby for bonding.
(I also packed a dropper bottle of fractionated coconut oil in case I decided to dilute any of the straight oils I brought.)
I was already a lover of essential oils and incorporating them into my birthing experience just intensified that love! They truly helped me make it through my natural labor with Annabelle. I was very thankful to have each one I packed and I would certainly recommend them for any momma who wants to have an unmedicated birth!
On a totally related note, I wanted to mention that Clary Sage essential oil helped me get my labor going. I had Jacob massage it into my ankles on Saturday night, after I had been having prodromal labor all week and strong contractions throughout that day. I walked on the elliptical for half an hour after he applied it, then went to bed. I woke up in true labor around 3am!