Essential Oils in Pregnancy; Pain and Nausea During Labor and Delivery

Midwives use aromatherapy during labor and delivery for pain and nausea with great success.

This eight year study evaluated 8000 mothers who were undergoing labor. The study evaluated various essential oils to relieve anxiety, pain, nausea, vomiting and also to strengthen uterine contractions. Results showed that more than 50% of the mothers had success in using essential essential oils for these various conditions. Fewer than 1% had negative outcomes. The use of essential oils was found to reduce the need of pain  medicines during labor.  It also improved strength of contractions with dysfunctional or extended labor cases.

The outcome studied mothers ratings of effectiveness, outcomes of labor, use of pharmacologic pain relief, uptake of intravenous oxytocin, reported associated symptoms, and annual costs.

Use essential oils during labor and delivery by diffusing with an aromatherapy room diffuser, adding oils to a warm water bath and apply to belly with rag, massage pure oil blend in jojoba into the feet triggering reflexology points or add to warm bath.

An investigation into the use of aromatherapy in intrapartum midwifery practice.


Oxford Centre for Health Care Research and Development Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom.


The principal aim of the study was to examine the contribution of aromatherapy to the promotion of maternal comfort during labor and as a tool to improve the quality of midwifery care.


The use of aromatherapy during childbirth was an increasingly popular care option with mothers and midwives. More than 50% of mothers rated it as helpful, and only 14% found it unhelpful. The use of aromatherapy was not confined to low-risk mothers. Sixty percent of the sample were primigravidae, and 32% overall had had their labor induced. The administration of aromatherapy in childbirth did appear to reduce the need for additional pain relief in a proportion of mothers. More than 8% of primigravidae and 18% of multigravidae used no conventional pain relief during labor after using essential oils.  The study also showed that aromatherapy may have the potential to augment labor contractions for women in dysfunctional labour.


This study represents a successful example of the integration of a complementary therapy into mainstream midwifery practice and forms a basis for future research.