Essential Oils For Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum

Essential oils for birth

Since ancient times, many cultures have turned to plants in the form of potent oils for everything from enhancing beauty to medicinal purposes. Over time, essential oils have been proven to be beneficial and effective. But what about during your pregnancy, birth, or postpartum period? They are amazing for this time in your life as well! I am happy to share with you my favorite essential oils for each phase of bringing a little one earthside. You may see some repeated because they are so incredibly versatile!


Lavender - This is probably the most commonly used essential oil due to it’s versatility. It can be used topically to ease muscle or nerve pain. Diffusing it may also alleviate some stress and anxiety.

Spearmint - Applying a bit of spearmint topically to the back of your neck or diffusing it may give you a little boost of energy and help with nausea.

Roman Chamomile - This is a wonderful oil - many will tell you it is right behind lavender. Add it to body butter to prevent stretch marks and soothe dry or itchy skin. It also has a calming effect when applied topically or diffused.

Frankincense - Frankincense is one of my favorite oils since it is incredibly grounding and healing. It may also aid in pain relief and prevention of tears. Add it to body butter, dilute in a carrier oil, or diffuse to experience the benefits of this oil.

Cypress- This oil is helpful if you are experiencing leg cramps, swelling, varicosities. Apply it topically diluted in a carrier oil.



Lavender - Lavender is often used as a natural pain reliever. It’s wonderful for muscle cramps or when used during massage for back labor. I also encourage mothers to add it to their diffuser to contribute to the calm in her birthing space.

Frankincense - Diffuse it to help keep you relaxed and centered throughout your birth or apply it topically to ease back labor.

Lemon - Nausea is quite common in labor and the smell of lemon essential oil can help alleviate this. Put a few drops on a cotton ball and smell it any time you feel a wave of nausea, sniff it directly from the bottle, or diffuse it.

Clary Sage - This oil has been said to help encourage effective contractions. There is some risk that using it beyond early labor may increase the risk of hemorrhage, so I recommend limiting it’s use to early or stalled labor.

Myrrh - Myrrh is another uterine stimulant that can be used to encourage stalled labor to pick up again if need be. A whiff of a few drops on a cotton ball should do the trick.

Peppermint - If you feel yourself getting tired when you need a burst of energy, or you are experiencing nausea, a sniff of peppermint may be just what you need! It can also be useful for that first trip to the bathroom immediately after the birth. If your having a little trouble going, just put a couple drops in the toilet. I advise against applying this topically during labor since it is such a strong sent. It does not wear off quickly and may interfere with bonding and breastfeeding once baby arrives.


I recommend exercising a lot of caution using oils around newborns. They depend on smell to bond and breastfeed and not all oils are safe for brand new little humans. If applying topically make sure it is diluted and applied below the waist.

Lavender - Whether you are experiencing some baby blues or the normal anxieties that sometimes come with caring for your newborn lavender’s calming effects can be incredibly helpful. It is also a wonderful oil for perineal healing.

Frankincense - You will experience so many emotions postpartum that may come flying at your faster than you can prepare for and the grounding effects of frankincense can help you through it. Like lavender, it is also wonderful for healing the perineal area or cesarean incision. I personally used a combination of frankincense and lavender for postpartum healing and pain relief after the birth of my daughter.

Bergamot - Baby blues are incredibly common in the first week postpartum due to fluctuating hormones. Diffuse bergamot or apply topically to your feet to feel it’s uplifting effects.

Now that you know about some great essential oils and their uses, lets talk about safety for a moment. While these oils are so helpful, caution is also needed when considering use during pregnancy or around newborns.

Proper dilution is very important. You should dilute your oils to a 1% dilution ratio when pregnant or breastfeeding. This means 1 drop of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of carrier oil.

There are also some oils that should definitely not be used during this time. I would highly recommend researching further information on oils that are unsafe while pregnant or breastfeeding.

I also do not recommend putting oils in your birth tub. Oils and water do not mix. You do not want your infant to be born into water with oils just sitting on top. This could irritate their eyes, skin, or cause a potential allergic reaction. I also advise against ingesting oils, especially while pregnant. Stick to topical application or diffusing.

All of this being said, I am not a certified aromatherapist. I always recommend consulting with your care provider before using essential oils while pregnant or nursing.