These pregnant mothers are sharing a cup of herbal tea after one of my yoga classes this week.
A discussion began about the essential oil of Clary Sage, which is often called a ‘womb tonic’ and has also been called ‘natural gas and air’.
One of them used it for the birth of her first baby and thinks that this helped to make her labour progress quickly.
Clary sage is often used with lavender, which is an antiseptic and has relaxing qualities. Because Clary sage is an analgesic, a mixture of the two often provides just what you need to make you more comfortable in strong labour.
I first heard about its benefits in labour at a conference about the use of aromatherapy in labour. Since then I have tried it myself and with my daughters.
It seems so useful, that I would certainly take some with me when attending a birth. We stock it in our small store at the Active Birth Centre and many mums have found it helpful.
Clary sage essential oil is said to:
- Help with respiratory, muscular, and uterine body systems during the labour process.
- Promote relaxation and pain relief.
- Be especially useful when muscular tension may be caused by fear, emotional stress or tension.
- Help to balance hormones and encourage release of oxytocin in labour.
- Release muscle tension and to help the last bit of muscle dilation that is needed for the baby to be born.
While gas and air can cause nausea and slow down the birth reflex, many people believe that clary sage helps to facilitate birth, because it causes contractions to become more regular or intense and to drive dilation of the cervix to completion, without the same side effects.
Clary Sage also has a euphoric effect so will uplift your mood and help you to feel positive just when labour is at it’s most challenging. This is especially useful in the last stage of labour where it may help to calm you and enhance the natural trance-like state of late labour, helping to bring the feeling of euphoria and relaxation that nature intends at this time.
A few words of caution
Clary sage is contra-indicated in pregnancy and not be used until you are in established strong labour. Save it until you really need it.
Clary sage should never be confused with regular sage, as sage can actually be toxic to the baby because it’s so strong.
Clary sage has a very unique smell, so be prepared – you may not like the smell. Best not to try it out in pregnancy.
Use in moderation – never more than 10 drops.
How to use Clary Sage Oil in labour
Put a few drops on the forehead and palms of the hands.
Use it as a massage oil on the lower back or feet or rub into the belly.
Dilute 10 drops in 50ml of a gentle carrier oil such as grape seed or almond oil (possibly in combination with other oils such as lavender, fennel, ylang ylang or neroli.)
Between contractions in strong labour
Inhale neat – apply one – three drops of the essential in the palm of your hands, rub together and inhale deeply two or three times.
Put a few drops into a bowl of hot water and place near to you.
Make a cold compress by immersing a face cloth in cold water to which 10 drops of clary sage have been added and use as a refreshing towel.
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