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Pregnancy and birth, while both miraculous and beautiful, can also be extremely uncomfortable for many women. Your bodies are experiencing exponential amounts of change: physically, hormonally and, in turn, emotionally. One of God’s greatest gifts that I now offer my doula clients for their births are 100% pure therapeutic-grade essential oils. Don’t be fooled. Essential oils are not just for aromoatherapy… they are for health and wellness… for mama and baby alike. They are truly the simplest form of comfort measures during labor, next to massage.

In my personal handy-dandy doula bag that I bring with me to each and every birth, essential oils are my big guns, my number one go-to, my essential tools. I don’t know how I ever went to births without them. Let me just explore the profound ways that essential oils can specifically affect your labor and how many mamas before you have benefited from them.

First off, it is KEY to choose an essential oil that you can ingest.

90% of essential oils that are sold in the United States as “pure” essential oil are fragrance-grade and diluted. (The FDA has determined that a product need contain only 5% of the ingredient on the label in order to use the word PURE.) These oils are found on the shelves of many health food stores and at online discount houses. They may be less expensive, but they will not be useful for healing. 

If you want oils for healing and not just aromatherapy… check the label. Does it say for external use only? Good RULE OF THUMB when shopping for essential oils: if you can’t eat it and if your child can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin and certainly don’t inhale it.

  Essential oil solutions for LABOR:


  •   Peppermint on the tongue, 1 drop at a time
  • Peppermint in water: I use this as a diluted sprizter which acts as an anti-nausea agent. Best during transition on a cloth for your face, forehead or chest. This can also be used to stimulate mom to pee if she’s having a hard time going by just simply dropping it into the toilet.
  • Lemon or other Citrus EOs in water, 5 drops to a quart keep drinking all day long, purifies the lymph system
  • Ningxia Red, 2 oz. a day

Early Labor (to halt labor)

  •  Clary Sage 5-7 drops and/or Fennel
  • Lavender, apply a few drops on the belly and wait and see (calming and relaxing)
  • Peace & Calming Blend, apply on the heart and solar plexus, just 1 drop or diffuse

Encourage labor:

  •  Jasmine and Clary Sage
  • *Amount varies from case to case. Taking a drop of Clary Sage for example once every 15 minutes to an hour might do it.

*Use Jasmine only externally as a fragrant; don’t use it internally.

*Testimony: “I have personally used Clary Sage at multiple births which were either stalled or moving slower than normal. After each dose of Clary Sage used at the proper time, the mothers would have a big contraction with a lot of progress following it.” – Hailey Aliff, Doula & Student-Midwife

During Labor:

  •  4 drops Helichrysum
  • 4 drops Fennel
  • 2 drops Peppermint
  • 5 drops Ylang Ylang
  • 3 drops Clary Sage
  • 1/2 oz. V6 carrier oil

*Apply only after the labor starts.  Massage inside the ankles (vita-flex points), on little toes, little fingers and lower tummy and back.

  •  Or Frankincense, applied diluted around vaginal opening.

During Labor (Diffusing Blend): Diffuse in birthing room  

 During Labor (Wash Cloth Blend): use in a bowl of water, swish a washcloth and use to cool mom’s head and face.

Afterbirth Blend: use with a carrier oil to help expel placenta and tone the uterus

  •  10 drops Geranium
  • 15 drops Jasmine


  •  Peace & Calming – diffuse during labor
  • Lavender – add to bath water at birth or diffuse it in the room

Back Pain

  •  Pan Away – on the area of pain, directly or diluted with a few drops V6 or vegetable oil
  • Valor, on the area
  • AromaSiez, on the area

Blood Pressure (If too low or too high during pregnancy or birthing)

  •  AromaLife Blend, drop on the heart and inner wrist
  • Clary Sage lowers BP if it is too high

Breech Babies

  •  Try Myrrh applied to the belly button, several drops rubbed onto the belly, repeated application might be needed.
  • Rose – heals emotional trauma plus is rejuvenative to the skin/tissue (also part of Trauma Life)
  • Helichrysum – heals tissue trauma, stops bleeding (also in Trauma Life Blend!)
  • Idaho Balsam Fir  – one time 10 drops into ‘OO” capsule taken internally to wean off pain medications after C-section
  • Believe Blend (Frankincense, Idaho Balsam Fir and Rosewood):wound healing, diluted on the area
  • Lavender – prevention of scaring, skin healing
  • Trauma Life (Helichrysum, Lavender, Valerian, Sandalwood, Rose, Spruce, Geranium, Davana, Citrus hystrix) – covers a large terrain of application
  • Peppermint – I used peppermint on a mama whose baby had just turned breech at 37 weeks pregnant. We prayed, applied peppermint to the top of her abdomen, then literally sat and WATCHED her baby turn inside of her head down!!

*Testimonial: “I read a testimonial by someone who had used peppermint oil on her abdomen to turn a baby breech (rear down) to vertex (head down). So I used it on two patients, and it worked on one and the other didn’t turn. But the one that didn’t turn even went to the hospital to have a version – where they manually turn the baby to vertex position – and it didn’t work wither. I will continue to use peppermint oil for first line treatment to turn breech babies.” – Katherine Grimes, C.N.M., R.N., M.S.N.

Dilation, if delayed

  •  Clary Sage, use orally 1 drop every 15 minutes or 6 drops and see what happens over the next couple hours, then repeat if necessary.

  Essential oil solutions for POSTARTUM:

Breast infection/ ‘milk fever’/mastitis – if breast aren’t emptied completely or when milk ducts get clogged or if breast-feeding is stopped abruptly. Cold Compress up to hourly during the day with:

  •  Geranium, 1drop
  • Lavender, 1drop
  • Rose, 2 drops

*In 1.5 pints cold water, dip washcloth into it, squeeze excess water out and apply on breast.

*Testimony: “I gave a mama suffering with mastitis the Gentle Baby blend and in less than 3 days she was cured!”

Breast infection + Fever

  •  Same compress as before PLUS Eucalyptus globules foot bath, 5 drops added to ½ tsp sea salt and added to water


  •   Fennel oil 2 drops in honey water every two hours

After birth, anointing the baby

  •  Frankincense – Apply on the whole body diluted as an ointment (also good on cord to prevent infection)


  •   Trauma Life Blend (Helichrysum, Lavender, Valerian, Sandalwood, Rose, Spruce, Geranium, Davana, Citrus hystrix)

* Apply wherever the Trauma happened, head area etc. or simply on the crown and the feet right after birth.

*Testimonial: “As for me, I LOVED being able to use the Thieves blend diffused in the labor/delivery room at my midwife birthing center as we got there to clean the air. And we scrubbed the birthing tub with the Thieves Household Cleaner before I got in (NO CHEMICALS!). Then, we diffused Peace & Calming and also applied it to me on my chest, behind my ears, on my neck and under my nose. I was SO relaxed! I also had applied Fennel, Ylang Ylang and Clary Sage to my inner ankles (VitaFlex points) before I went to the birthing center to speed up labor… and it worked great! I had planned on diffusing the blend Valor and putting it on my chest and under my nose when I went into transition and was about to push to help me get a boosted sense of bravery and an “I can do it!” attitude, but I had been so relaxed that when it was time to push, things went so fast and I didn’t have time to use the Valor before baby Ethan was born!” – Sera Johnson, B.Mu

**To learn more about how oils can benefit you, your pregnancy, your baby, and your family read Debra Raybern N.D.’s, life-changing book Gentle Babies. Many more testimonials in this book!

**To learn how to build the essential labor & postpartum kit read HERE.

**To learn all the different uses for oils during your pregnancy read HERE.

How have you used essential oils in your labor?

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This is the writings of:

My name is Hailey Joy and I am a young and ambitious 24 yr-old (second-generation) student midwife. I began Joy Within Birth Services LLC as both a business and ministry offering childbirth education, doula care, and placenta encapsulation to the beautiful mamas of Louisiana. I am passionate about women and children, choice and freedom in healthcare and pregnancy, and a natural, holistic approached to healing.

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  1. Love this! My doula is a massage therapist & huge into doTerra, so I’m really excited to read this as a starting place to talk to her about what our plan is. Thanks for the great info!


  2. […] I originally wrote this article for Modern Alternative Pregnancy. You can find it HERE. […]


  3. Great article Hailey! I wondered if you have a source for this claim “90% of essential oils that are sold in the United States as “pure” essential oil are fragrance-grade and diluted.” I would love to use it but I haven’t found any where that states this. Thanks for sharing better health with others. :)



    I have been reading a lot about which essentially oils are and aren’t safe during pregnancy and you have mentioned almost all of the no no’s in your formulas. Can you explain why. Thank you.


  5. A question about your diffuser blend. I assume you mix all together in a separate bottle. How many drops of the blend do you diffuse? (I have the YL diffuser that came with the kit). This will be my first birth so it might be quite lengthy is this safe to diffuse the entire time? Thanks in advance!!


  6. I am seeing a lot of peppermint and peppermint in blends. My big concern is reduction in lactation. Have you found this to be a problem?


  7. I’m so happy I found this! I’m 38 weeks and due any day now. I’ve been looking for which essential oils can help me during labor but also with directions n dosage. I feel so much more at ease. Now I can order the oils I am missing. Thankful it’s just two. Thanks again!


  8. I was told to NEVER ingest clary sage by an herbalist. Where were you told that it was safe?


    • DoTerra lists Clary Sage as safe to ingest on their website. I’m actually trying it now as I am over a week late, only 1cm dilated with few contractions and my back up Dr is already pressuring me to induce and if I wait till 42 weeks she suggests cesarean. the desire of my heart is to have my planned home birth but I need my little guy to come before 42 weeks!


  9. Great article, very helpful! But, I have a concern. I understand that this is labor, and we want to promote it to go faster, but I read a list of essential oils that should be avoided during pregnancy, and Clary Sage was one of them, due to Clary Sage being a labor inducing oil. I was wondering if there would be any other safety concerns with using it during labor. I want to be a midwife, and I am interested in utilizing essential oils during the labor process. I just want to be sure about what oils I am using.


  10. Please reconsider publishing this article. It is filled with dangerous and irresponsible essential oil usage advice. Please do not dispense this advice to people who don’t understand that there are safe and unsafe oils, ESPECIALLY for pregnant and lactating women, and oils should absolutely never under any circumstance be ingested unless under the care of a trained and certified aromatherapist. This is very scary to read, as I know others may not learn what I shockingly learned several months ago from an aromatherapist and, like I did for so long, they may read this and blindly follow these instructions, assuming that because essential oils are natural, no care or precaution needs to be taken (very untrue). Most of what you are recommending here is unsafe. Please consult wiith an aromatherpist to learn why.


  11. There is so much wrong here I do not even know where to start. When it comes to essential oils, less is more. These amounts are ridiculous! Most of these oils should not be used by one who is pregnant or nursing. Most should definitely not be used around newborn babies! Ingestion should not take place unless under the direct care of a trained aromatherapist. And oils in drinking water? Please don’t. Oil and water do not mix and you can suffer major esophageal damage. Oils should always be diluted in a carrier or skin irritation can occur. Finally, there is no safe “brand” of essential oil. Oils are safe when and only when used properly.


  12. Please do not ingest oils! You should only do this under the supervision of a licensed medical practitioner or a certified aromatherapist. Here is some info on the safety issues related to using EO during pregnancy.


  13. As a birth professional and educator, you are doing clients and others a disservice by advising ingesting essential oils. No oil, regardless of what YL and DT reps say, are safe to consume. And those that do recommend ingestion, is to be done only under the very close care of a trained apothecary or aromatherapist.


  14. I’m past my due date but have been contracting for days. Finally I let them check my cervix which is still very thick. I’ve just bought black cohosh and clary sage. I’d love your input on how or when to use these to avoid induction with pitocin.


  15. I am getting close to having my third child and am making the labor blend. I have everything besides Helichrysum. Is there an oil I can use in its place?


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