Top Tips From Janet: Clary Sage Essential Oil

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Janet Balaskas

Here is something great to have in your birth kit.

Clary Sage, when used is labour*, has been called natural ‘gas and air’.

It is often used in combination with lavender, which has antiseptic and 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.

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 cervical opening that is needed for the baby to be born.
Clary Sage Essential Oil

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 the opening of the cervix to completion, without the same side effects.

Clary sage also has a euphoric effect so can uplift your mood just when you are feeling desperate and help you to feel more positive 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 help you to surrender to 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 must not be used until you are in late 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. DO NOT try it out in pregnancy.
  • Use in moderation – start with just a few drops as increase as required – never use more than 10 drops.

Between contractions in late labour

Here is where this can be a good natural alternative to ‘gas and air’ to avoid the common side effects of gas and air or Entonox.

Its best to wait until you are more than 7-8cm dilated.

Tell your partner or birth attendants about this, as you may not remember at the time.

Suggestions – How to use it:

  • Put a few drops on the forehead and palms of the hands
  • Use it in a massage oil on the lower back or feet or rub into the shoulders
  • Dilute 5 drops in 50ml of a gentle carrier oil such as grape seed or almond oil (possibly in combination with 3 drops of other oils such as Lavender or Neroli.)
  • Inhale neat by applying three to five drops of the essential oil in the palm of your hands, rub them together and inhale deeply two or three times.
  • Put a few drops onto a tissue and sniff it.
  • You can put a few drops into a bowl of hot water and place near to you.
  • ake a cold compress by immersing a face cloth in a bowl of cold water to which 10 drops of clary sage have been added and use as a refreshing towel.

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