Birthzang’s Guide to using Clary Sage Oil in Labour

by | Oct 12, 2016 | Labour & Birth

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Clary sage oil is often touted as an effective method to induce labour naturally and enhance contractions once labour has started. The reality is that babies come precisely when they are ready. Studies have shown that labour is triggered once the baby’s lungs are fully developed. They then release a protein that triggers labour.

However, many women will try all manner of things – some more effective than others – to try and induce labour naturally and avoid a medical induction.

Clary sage oil is an easily-available and easy-to-use method.

What is Clary Sage?

clary sage oilClary sage is a variety of the sage herb plant, and has various aromatic and medicinal properties.

The leaves are edible and the leaves and flowers can be distilled into an essential oil for therapeutic use. Please note that ‘sage oil’ is quite a different thing and musn’t be confused with clary sage.

Clary sage has oestrogen-regulating and stimulating properties, because of its similar chemical structure to oestrogen. It has had a long association for use with menstrual problems.

It is also thought to have a stimulating effect on pregnant women so it is advised not to be used before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

It also has a host of other benefical properties as varying as an antidepressant, aphrodisiac, deodorant and euphoric for people outside of pregnancy. For the purposes of this article, I just want to focus on its use after 37 weeks of pregnancy and in labour.

Cautions about Clary Sage Oil

All essential oils prepared by a reputable source are safe to use providing you stick to these guidelines.

  • Do NOT use clary sage oil before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It has a stimulating effect on the uterus and so it should be avoided until you are at term or later. For most women it is probably not appropriate to use clary sage before your due date.
  • Do NOT use clary sage oil directly onto the skin as it is very intensive – in some cases up to 100 times stronger than it’s original source – and can cause burning and skin damage.
  • Do NOT ingest clary sage oil, it is poisonous, so keep it out of reach of children.
  • Do NOT get it on your mucous membranes (such as eyes or lips) as it can cause irritation or burning, even in a diluted form.
  • Do NOT mix clary sage with any other essential oils or products unless you have consulted a qualified aromatherapist. It can react with other oils and have unintended results.
neal's yard clary sage oil

Buy Organic Clary Sage Oil £17.99 click here

I personally use Neal’s Yard essential oils as they are a really well-known and reputable brand. While they are not the cheapest oils on the market, you really don’t muck around with this stuff as some of them can be harmful. Plus their scent is amazing and the quality is top notch.

You can buy Neal’s Yard Organic Clary Sage Oil by clicking the image of the bottle or through this link.

How to safely use Clary Sage Oil to naturally induce labour

To scent a room

You can put a few drops of clary sage oil into an Essential Oil Aroma Diffuser, an essential oil reed dispnser or an essential oil burner.

Make sure any previous oils are thoroughly cleaned off as some are not appropriate for use in pregnancy.

You can use clary sage oil in this way from 37 weeks in any room, and can also be used in labour to enhance contractions. However, if you get fed up of the smell, then it can be difficult to get rid of it quickly so it is therefore probably not advised during labour itself.

Note, you cannot burn candles in a hospital setting. An alternative is to put a few drops onto a tissue (or cotton wool) and have the tissue draped over a radiator, or about your person. This way,  if you want a break from the smell you can easily dispose of it.

The oil can also be put on a piece of fabric (like a rebozo or scarf) but again, you need to be really sure you are not going to want to have a break from the scent. It may cause staining on clothes so test it out on a corner first.

Massage with clary sage oil

Add a few drops of clary sage oil to an unscented base massage oil – such as coconut oil, almond oil, baby oil, etc. Ensure you have at least equal parts clary sage to base oil, but ideally have a few drops of clary sage oil with about 10-15 ml of your carrier oil to ensure it is properly diluted.

The oil can be massaged over the entire body but is particularly nice to Massage into your bump. This helps to make a connection with your baby and coupled with relaxation music and birth visualisations, it can be a wonderful way to encourage labour to start.

Just remember that in late pregnancy you should avoid lying on your back so make sure you are either supported in a semi-reclined position or lying down on your side.

Obviously staying sexually active with your partner is a very personal choice in late pregnancy. Massage can be a wonderful way to get intimate with your partner and help them feel involved. This lovely pregnancy massage book was recommended to me during my second pregnancy and Mrzang thoroughly enjoyed trying all the techniques on me!

Bath tonic

You can add a few (5-10) drops into a bath to get a fully immersive clary sage oil experience. You get the benefit of the oil on your skin, but also through the steam of the bath get the inhalation as well – double whammy!

In order to prevent the oil collecting on the surface of the water, add the drops to an eggcup of milk bef

ore pouring into the bath. The milk acts to help disperse the oil in the water so it doesn’t just sit on the surface.

CAUTION: It is inadvisable to use clary sage oil with any other bath products just in case it interacts with them so best avoid bubble bath and shower gel and just add it to a plain water bath. It can also cause the surface of the bath to be slightly slippery so take extra care when getting in and out of the bath., and wipe it down with detergent afterward (just get your partner to do it, you are 45 years pregnant after all!)

Use of clary sage oil to induce labour

Like so many natural methods to induce labour, clary sage oil has not been studied in great depth, and so its efficacy to bring labour on is hard to pinpoint.

There are many cases of women who attribute going into labour as a result of using clary sage oil but it is very anecdotal. How soon you go into labour after using clary sage oil is a big question. What other methods have you used? And for as many people the clary sage oil does little or nothing towards inducing labour.

It is known to have relaxation properties and perhaps just the act of relaxing and not getting stressed about going into labour has the desired effect?

Labour is controlled by oxytocin and getting in a warm bath in a private dark space will boost your oxytocin well before you add clary sage oil into the mix. It certainly doesn’t seem to do any harm though! And baths and massage are a lovely way to bide your time before labour starts.

Ultimately if it was THAT efficacious to bring on labour, we would be using it in hospitals rather than the artificial oxytocin that is currently used for inductions.

Just remember that the due date of a baby is not very scientific and babies have a normal due “window” from 37 to 42 weeks!

I’ll Take 8 Pineapples! Foods to Induce Labour Naturally

Use of clary sage oil in labour

There has been a study that looked at different essential oils used by midwives during labour. Although the study didn’t have a control group (so it is difficult to draw hard conclusions), it did indicate that clary sage (and chamomile) oil were effective in helping to reduce pain and ease anxiety.

Clary sage is thought to stimulate contractions and oxytocin which are two essential ingredients for labour. So its use during labour is believed to enhance the labour and intensify contractions. Clary sage oil could be used to help speed things up if labour seems to be slowing down or taking a long time to get into an established routine.

Have you used Clary Sage Oil?

Do you think using clary sage oil helped you go into labour? Did it enhance your contractions? Or did it do absolutely bugger all!

Please leave a comment and let me know how you used it and whether it worked.

Buy Clary Sage Oil


neal's yard clary sage oil

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