Labor and Postpartum Oils: What Worked for Me
ur Sadie turned a month old on Friday...mind blown! Time has flown by already and I am trying my best to treasure every moment of her being so small and cuddly. More on that another day, but I thought it was time to share what I found most helpful during her labor and this postpartum time frame for both of us.
Here is what I planned to try during labor and beyond: Essential Oil Labor Plans And here's what I have used:
I used Clary Sage or Monthly Blend to encourage contractions before arriving at the birth center when things were just starting by applying to my lower belly and pressure points on my ankles. I feel that it did help to move things along quickly and to keep me relaxed. I was very drawn to the scent and loved smelling it during active labor. I will forever associate the smell of the Monthly Blend with my birth with Sadie, I love it! As things progressed and I was having stronger contractions with more pressure, I started feeling more fearful of what was ahead, memories and fears of my previous births came rushing back. Juniper Berry also is one I am very attracted to and is supposed to help with the emotion of fear, so we put that on a towel on the edge of the tub where I could smell it as well.
We also had a diffuser going, but I cannot remember what we put in it! The room was large and the diffuser wasn't near the tub so I didn't smell it much myself, but I'm sure it did help with the atmosphere of our birthing room in general and helping my birth attendees. I found for my use, having it on a towel or pillow right by my face when I had a contraction as I closed my eyes and took deep breathes was most helpful.
As soon as I got off the bed after my midwife checked to find my 7-8cm and onto a birthing ball beside the bed while we refilled the tub, I felt nauseous and shaky which is typical for transition stage. It was a very familiar feeling in my previous births and I knew pushing was close! I mentioned how I was feeling to Leslie and she suggested peppermint. I'm so glad I had someone there to make suggestions because being that far along I wasn't thinking "what will help?" but just focusing on what my body was doing. She put peppermint on her hand for me to smell during the next contraction and it was instantly helpful. Shakes and nausea were gone right away and I immediately felt more energized and able to focus through the intensity as well. This by far was my favorite oil for labor and one I highly suggest! Once I got back into the tub, we again put peppermint on a towel for me to smell on the edge of the tub. I breathed it in and enjoyed the scent and the ways it was helping me focus.
The picture above was me smelling peppermint on the towel, just about fully dilated and about to push. So calm and still in my zone! One thing I aimed to do in this labor was to be more calm and less "vocal" and I truly feel between the oils and the massages I was receiving with each contraction, helped me to do that. I felt very much relaxed and in control the whole labor and birthing time.
Postpartum & Baby
I had made a roller bottle of "Reduce Bleeding blend" suggested by Stephanie Fritz in her book that I used both as a preventative before labor and afterwards. I did still bleed more than my midwife liked but it was less than my previous births, where I needed a piton shot before but not this time. I also attribute the less bleeding than my "normal" and the better energy levels after birth thanks to the Basic Vitality Supplements pack I took as my prenatal pills. My family commented over and over how much more energy and color I had this time around after birth! I used the Reduce Bleeding blend for several days postpartum as well to help slow the bleeding and I felt it helped to not be so heavy. I was amazed at how quickly things lightened up this time.
Afterbirth pains and my stomach muscles felt horrible for the first few days. We used Marjoram for the tired sore stomach muscles and that helped a ton! For the after pains, I tried lavender and white fir. I also used arnica and Afterease tincture, but nothing truly helped the afterpains as I had hoped it would. A heating pad was super helpful though! Eventually on day 3 I finally gave in and took a dose or 2 of pain medicine. *EDIT to add* I discovered how amazingly well Monthly Blend and Geranium over my ovaries works for period cramping so I'll be trying that for after birth pains this time around to see if it helps!
Bottom healing wise, praise the Lord I didn't tear at all this time! I still did a Lavender and Frankincense spray and also added Geranium to my peri bottle. Again, I felt it helped to reduce the bleeding and make sure everything stayed clean down there. If nothing else, I smelled awesome :-)
For hormones and hot flashes, Monthly Blend again is so helpful! I apply it morning and night on the back of my neck and bottoms of my feet. If I forget to before bed, I always wake up in night sweats! This is probably my favorite oil for postpartum for me.
For Sadie, the most used essential oils have been Frankincense, Geranium, DigestZen and Lavender. For her cord stump, I applied a little Frankincense and Geranium to boost healing and reduce bleeding (the scab kept getting picked a little on her onsies). Myrrh is recommended too but I didn't have that one yet.
She had some bad spitting up issues the first week so we made a 5ml roller bottle with 5 drops Digestion Blend and Fractionated Coconut Oil. I just rub it on her belly clock wise and it seems to help relieve gas and reflux. This is embarrassing to admit, but after birth as my insides were moving back into place and also "backed up" if you know what I mean, I was in a lot of pain with gas those first few days too. I used Digestion Blend and Fennel over my belly and it was SO helpful to both relieve pain and to get things moving again!
When I'm getting her ready for bed I put Lavender on her feet (and mine!). She's been a good sleeper anyway (praise God!) but it definitely seems to relax both of us and get us ready for bed. She does seem to sleep longer when I apply it verses when I forget. Plus it makes for a good bedtime routine and that's always a good thing for babies!
One last tidbit of how oils have helped me in this postpartum time: my mood! Some days I still feel some blues or overwhelmed when I forget to take my placenta pills. Once again as it helped after Ashlyn, Joyful Blend and Grounding Blend are key to helping me feel more centered and joyful in those moments. I have a spray bottle of Grounding blend that I use every morning (I also used this during labor) and I keep something in the diffuser daily so we're all breathing in the benefits!
What oils helped you during labor, birth, or afterwards? I have loved experimenting this time around with these tools God has gifted us from His creation!