Enroll in our latest aromatherapy continuing education course, free for RNs.

Essential Oils for Labor & Delivery: Here’s What Actually Works

Aromatherapy uses specific fragrances and essential oils to treat certain symptoms and conditions. There has even been increased use of essential oils for labor and delivery. Studies have shown that care providers can use aromatherapy during labor and delivery to reduce pain perception.

In one study, more than half of those who used aromatherapy during labor reported it was helpful. Only 13% said it was unhelpful, while only 1% reported undesired effects. 

This feedback means aromatherapy and essential oils are powerful tools for a laboring person and their medical providers. Speak to your doula, midwife, or doctor about including aromatherapy in your care plan.

Essential Oils for Labor & Delivery: The Benefits

There are several benefits of aromatherapy during labor and delivery. Essential oils can make a sterile, uncomfortable hospital environment feel homey and cozy. 

Using essential oils during labor can have other powerful benefits depending on the oil you use. Some essential oils can offer you an energy boost or stress relief when diffused into the air to get you through the more challenging parts of labor. 

Combine essential oils with a carrier oil to make a pain-relieving massage oil. While they can’t eliminate your pain, they can reduce your need for medical pain relief, such as an epidural. Always talk to your doctor prior to applying essential oils during pregnancy to be safe though.  

Best Essential Oils for Labor & Delivery

woman using queaseEase essential oil inhaler post labor and delivery

Essential oils can improve your birthing experience. Here are some of the most helpful essential oils for relieving anxiety, pain, and nausea.

Essential Oils for Energy Boost

Labor is an act of endurance, often lasting twelve hours or more. People in labor often feel exhausted long before the baby arrives. These essential oils can help you with a burst of energy when you need it most.


Peppermint essential oil boosts energy levels and concentration during times of fatigue and stress. 


An essential oil blend of frankincense, black spruce, blue tansy, camphor wood, and geranium boosts energy. This combination inspires confidence and encourages inner strength.

Essential Oils for Stress & Anxiety

Nearly 80% of people experience severe anxiety during labor. Fear of pain or potential complications can make the entire process feel overwhelming. Here are some essential oils that can help clear away some of that anxiety so you can focus on labor.

Red Mandarin

Red mandarin oil contains stress-reducing compounds that you can safely diffuse.


Aromatherapy using bergamot essential oil triggers the brain to release dopamine and serotonin. It’s a great stress reducer for people in labor.

Copaiba & Balsam Fir

Copaiba essential oil contains terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene, which is similar to CBD. It lowers blood pressure and reduces anxiety and stress when diffused.

Balsam fir essential oil can help ease depression, nervous tension, and stress. The two oils produce a soothing aroma when combined to provide a pick-me-up.

Citrus Scents

Many citrus scents have a balance of calming and energizing properties. Orange and lemon are particularly uplifting and stress-reducing. 


Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in respiratory treatments, but it’s also energizing and clears the mind. 


Lavender is one of the most effective essential oils for relaxation and sleep. It helps to calm the mind and ease anxiety about labor and childbirth.

Essential Oils for Pain Management

woman in wheelchair with her baby using essential oil inhaler

For many people, childbirth is an uncomfortable or painful process. Here are some essential oils that may reduce your need for anesthesia.


You’ve probably had chamomile tea to help you sleep. Chamomile essential oil diluted with a carrier oil and applied topically can also relieve back pain and inflammation.

Clary Sage

Clary sage oil is a very calming and grounding oil. It’s also a natural antidepressant and stress reliever. Clary sage oil can be massaged onto the lower abdomen with al cream to reduce menstrual and labor cramps.

Ginger Oil

One of the lesser talked about sensations during later stages of labor and delivery is nausea. Ginger essential oil can reduce the nausea symptoms of pregnancy and childbirth. 


Diffusing lavender essential oil can reduce the need for pain medicine during contractions. It’s also helpful when diluted and applied topically.


Lemongrass essential oil taken orally is a potent anti-inflammatory. Its fragrance can also relieve nausea, one of the more unpleasant side effects of labor.

Orange & Germanium

This combination of essential oils is excellent for pain relief. Dilute them in a carrier oil to create a soothing massage oil or diffuse to reduce pain when it’s too intense.

Labor & Delivery Essential Oil Blends

One of the things that makes essential oils such an effective way of treating so many symptoms is that blends can serve as a custom solution.

Calming oil. In a neutral carrier oil such as coconut or sweet almond oil, combine lavender and frankincense oils. Apply this blend to your wrists, chest, or back of the neck during labor for a calming sensation. 

Pain relief oil. Combine lavender, chamomile, and juniper essential oils in a carrier oil like grapeseed or avocado oil. Use it as a massage oil on the lower back, shoulders, or abdomen to relieve pain during labor.

Energy-boosting oil. In a neutral carrier oil, combine lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and eucalyptus oil. Apply to the back of the neck and bottom of the feet for a much-needed energy boost during labor and delivery. You can also use it after the baby is born when you’ll need all the energy you can get. 

Soothing Scents has custom blends to alleviate nausea and help with relaxation. You can use our products with the option of our convenient drip-free aromatic inhaler or our QuickTAB products.

Essential Oils for Labor & Delivery: Your Takeaway

Essential oils and aromatherapy have a long history of helping with the pain, anxiety, and fatigue associated with labor and delivery. 

If this appeals to you, discuss adding essential oils to your birth plan with your medical team and always purchase your essential oil products from a reputable provider. 

Soothing Scents’ products are safe, fast-acting, and natural. If you’d like to use essential oils in your birth plan with peace of mind, have a look at our range of scents and products. 

Download our
latest report

Sign up to receive our 2021 Essential Oil Therapy Cost-Benefit Report sent straight to your inbox.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop