Essential Oils for Labor (that Actually Work!)

3 Essential Oils That Actually Work During Labor

I have been a long-time lover of essential oils. I loved them even before they were trendy. So naturally, when I was pregnant, I began researching which oils for labor actually worked.

I have done the work to narrow down that list to the top three. This list, is the three oils that I used during my second labor that I felt actually helped.

I had packed many other oils in my labor bag, but in the moment these were the only ones that I felt like I needed.

I would suggest packing more to have on hand in case you feel like you need them. What worked for me may not work for you. Or, you may find different oils that work better for you.

Everybody is different, and our bodies react differently to these oils.

Go with your gut.

You are the only one who knows your body best. If there are essential oils that you love, bring them with you to labor.

I’m a strong believer in “the oils that you love the smell of are the oils that your body needs.”

If you’re new to essential oils, you might want to test them out before you go into labor to see how your body reacts to them.

You definitely don’t want to experiment with new essential oils during labor and find out you hate one after it’s already diffused in the room and it’s too late to back out.

*disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and the info in this post is my own opinion and advice based on my own experience. You’ll want to check with your doctor or midwife if you have questions and to make sure they’re ok with you using essential oils in labor.

This post contains affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. All opinions are my own and I only recommends products or services that I use personally.

What are essential oils and how do they help?

Unless you’ve been living in a bunker, you’ve probably heard of essential oils. They seem to be everywhere these days. But, here’s a brief overview in case you’ve missed it.

Essential oils are natural ingredients such as flowers and plants that have been extracted and distilled. Thus, they are extremely potent. Emily at Oil Powered Mom tells us that just a single drop of peppermint essential oil is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea.

When used correctly, the different oils can have many different health benefits. For instance, Lavender is often used to promote sleep and Lemon can be used for digestive issues. Do your own research into the benefits of each individual oil before trying.

What to look for in essential oils

When shopping for essential oils, you’ll want to make sure that what you buy is 100% pure. Meaning, it hasn’t already been diluted in some kind of carrier oil.

I love DoTerra’s oils because they are 100% pure, therapeutic grade, but do your own research and pick the brand(s) that are best for you.

3 Essential Oils that Actually Worked During Labor

1) Peppermint

Some people can throw up during labor. I am one of those people.

Trust me, it’s no fun.

They say that the cause of vomiting during labor is that the baby is moving down into your pelvis which gives the stomach more room again. And, the stomach doesn’t know what to do without being squished up in there for 9 months. So, you feel nauseous.

And you vomit.

…I hate vomiting.

The good news (“they” say) is that puking does the work of two contractions because it makes you bear down.

Still no fun.

During my first labor, I cannot count the number of times I puked. It felt like way too many times!

Of course, since it was my first pregnancy and labor, I had no idea that puking during labor was a thing. I wasn’t prepared at all.

Going into my second labor, I was armed with ammo! I had these sea bands for nausea and…

Essential oils.

I actually never broke out the sea bands because Peppermint oil was working so well for me.

I used it three different ways:

  • On a damp rag that I would breathe into and rub on my face
  • In a steamy shower
  • And, in dire circumstances, I would inhale the bottle directly

DoTerra also has a Peppermint Beadlet that you can pop in your mouth. Be sure to try this one out before labor to see if you like it because it’s pretty strong.

I still threw up. But, after using the peppermint oil, I noticed a drastic decrease in the number of times I threw up.

I went from throwing up countless times during my first labor without oils to only throwing up twice during my second labor with peppermint oil.


I will take two times over a dozen any day. Yes please and thank you!

2) Clary sage

Clary Sage can help with menstrual cramps and can also help with labor contractions. It’s been said that this oil can help kickstart labor if it’s already begun, so it’s not safe during pregnancy before 38 weeks.

I’m not particularly fond of the smell of Clary Sage, but I found that when mixed with the Clove, the blend smelled so yummy!

The week before I was due with my second, I was so anxious and ready to have the baby. I was trying any and every natural method to induce labor. Walking, spicy foods, Evening Primrose Oil—nothing was working.

The day before my due date, I rubbed a mixture of Clary Sage and Clove diluted in coconut oil on my lower back. I was trying so hard to get that baby to come out!

That night, I went into labor.

I attribute that to the essential oils (and the Chinese food I had that day too!).

3) Clove

Clove can help relieve back labor.

Although I never had back labor in both of my pregnancies (miraculously because both of my babies were born posterior!), I believe the Clove oil still helped relieve the intensity of contractions during labor.

Before labor, I had prepared a jar of coconut oil with Clove and Clary Sage. While in labor, I had my doula give me a massage using the oils.

Not only do I love foot massages, but knowing the many benefits of the oils helped me relax and know that the oils were working with my body to help birth the baby.

And, as a bonus Clove smells amazing!

I diffuse this oil throughout my house for the aroma alone.

Related: 5 Secrets to Avoid Pain in Labor

Other essential oils that I had packed but didn’t use


Ah Lavender! It is so relaxing, am I right?

That is mainly why I packed this oil. Because there’s no greater time you need to completely relax your body than during labor.

With my doula and husband coaching me, I felt so relaxed that we never ended up using this oil. Looking back, it would have been nice to use it during my massage. But, like I said, we used different oils and the labor went so quickly we didn’t have time for Lavender.

If you are wanting a relaxing atmosphere for labor or a massage between contractions, I suggest packing Lavender.

It’s a lovely oil to diffuse in the labor room as well. I didn’t know that the birth center I used didn’t have a diffuser. Otherwise, I would have packed one to diffuse Lavender for deeper relaxation.

I recently purchased this essential oil diffuser on Amazon and it has been my favorite so far. It works great and is kid friendly. My daughter loves to help me fill it up. She recently told me that Orange is her favorite essential oil. Which brings me to…

Wild Orange

I mainly use Wild Orange because it can help with anxiety. But, I didn’t feel anxiety at all during labor like I thought I would. So, I never felt like I needed this oil.

If you are prone to anxiety or have a history of anxiety like I do, I would recommend bringing this oil along with you for labor.

Just in case.


Frankincense-This is one oil that I absolutely love the smell of! That is why I packed it. It’s called “the King of oils” because of its many health benefits.

And, it was a gift to the baby Jesus so it must be good, right?

Again, the oils you love are the ones you need.

DoTerra’s Breathe

Breathe is an excellent oil to have on hand for your family during cold and flu season. It can really help alleviate the symptoms of congestion with colds.

I packed this oil because I had a cold the week before I was due. I thought that this oil would help with the slight lingering sinus congestion, but I ended up diffusing the peppermint oil for nausea instead.

Breathe has peppermint in it which also helped the nausea, so I never used the Breathe.

But I’m glad I had it with me just in case.

I love DoTerra’s oils. They are Pure, Therapeutic grade oils so you can be confident in the quality. And, compared to other MLM’s, they are a reasonable price.

If you are interested in learning more about DoTerra or purchasing Breathe to have with you during labor, you can check out my DoTerra website.

Be safe!

When talking about essential oils, it’s important to remember to stay safe!

What does that mean?

It means, don’t just go to town dumping highly potent essential oils on your skin.

Dilute your oils in a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil before rubbing them on your skin. This may seem like common knowledge but don’t dilute with water!

Essential oils are highly concentrated and can be damaging to our bodies if not used properly.

I have learned this the hard way in the past.

Learn from me, dilute your oils!

What other essential oils did you use that helped during labor? Leave a comment to let us know!

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Brooke resides in Montana with her husband and two kiddos. She uses her passion for writing along with her degree in Spanish Education and English Literature to write about her life experiences. She has been published on blogs such as Scary Mommy and also in Chicken Soup for the Soul.


  1. That was a lot of info! Fortunately, I didn’t have to use any essential oils in any of my births but I do remember my doula used a warm washcloth on my forehead with a couple drops of lavender oil to help me relax. So I can totally agree they have a lot of uses while giving birth. I only have a couple essential oils that I use for aromatherapy and for DIY products, but I’m looking to expand my collection and get a couple new ones ( while my husband isn’t watching 😉 haha ). Thank you for such an informative post.

    1. fruitscakesandnuts
      March 19, 2018

      Haha yes, essential oils can be expensive so I try to expand my collection slowly. There are a few that I want to try and get to help with Zoey’s sleep (we’ll see how it goes!). I mainly diffuse oils like orange or lavender (or Breathe if anyone is sick) in the house or dilute them and apply topically on the feet. We’ve also been experimenting with a natural toothpaste with peppermint oil. What oils do you like to use and how do you use them?


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