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Clary sage essential oil - can it really help to stimulate labour?

(29 Posts)
spalex Mon 15-Jan-07 14:37:40

Hi everyone, I'm 39+4 wks pg and have just been reading today that using clary sage essential oil at this stage could help to stimulate labour. Does anyone have any knowledge of how or why this is? And has it worked for anyone else? I was thinking about using a few drops in the bath tonight, but if anyone has any better suggestions I'd be glad to hear them. I know sex is meant to be the best thing to bring it on if you're ready anyway, but dp finds the idea of this hilarious at the moment !
I've also got some advice on acupressure points to try - worth a shot I thought. My 1st pg ended in a forceps delivery after being induced by the drip at 42 weeks, after 3 failed attempts with prostin gel and a failed sweep - does this mean I'm mure likely to have to face that prospect again? Aaargh! All comments welcome - espcially reminders that it's not going to go on forever - I feel desparately in need of some renewed motivation here!!

marymillington Mon 15-Jan-07 14:45:14

My understanding of clary sage is that it is a deep muscle relaxant. I'd be more inclined to sniff it or burn it than bath in it myself. Its quite woozy-making stuff and may remind you of the smell of a certain other ahem "herbal" susbstance.....

You could try reflexology (I am a bit of a broken record about this one though) - get a treatment with a practitioner if you can, though there are points you can work yourself (pituitary - underside of big toe between creases; midpoint between base of foot and inside ankle bone). In any case its relaxing.

Some diy orgasms if you can't face actual sex?

tenbygirl Mon 15-Jan-07 14:46:16

Clary sage is contra indicated in pregnancy. According to one of my textbooks you can use it in labour, but not pregnancy. Doesn't really explain why though. We use it where I work, but only for a retained placenta - it does act on the uterus and can bring on contractions. There must be some reason why its not safe to use in pregnancy though.

marymillington Mon 15-Jan-07 14:59:08

i'd guess if it can bring on contractions, that's why its contra-indicated!

tenbygirl - can you tell me more about how you use it for retained placenta? ( this is one of my main fears re natural childbirth) - sorry for the hijack spalex

viclb76 Mon 15-Jan-07 15:17:02

Hi,clary sage is supposed to make the uterus contract,along with lavender oil.Sniffing it or use with massage is supposed to be quite effective.Use around or for pregnant women should definently avoided as could bring on prem.labour.In your case ,at 39 weeks+,you're probably ready.Maybe try placing some clary sage on a warm towel and place it on your bump.
good luck,keep us posted

tenbygirl Mon 15-Jan-07 15:28:16

I think if it was just the fact it brings on contractions then it wouldn't be a blanket contraindication, but say not to use till 39 weeks. I wonder if it brings on powerful contractions and thats why its totally contraindicated according to this book? Not sure.

Mary - we have an aromastream at work which we can add clary sage oil to. It causes the uterus to contract which can aid expulsion of the placenta. Are you planning a natural childbirth then?

kittylette Mon 15-Jan-07 15:30:31

i actully went into labour after rubbing it on my belly, diluted with a mixing oil,

did that at about 8pm and went into labour at 9pm - also had sex in that hour

sweetkitty Mon 15-Jan-07 15:32:03

Did nothing for me I massaged the bump with it, bathed in it and even rubbed my reflexology points in it every night for about two weeks, never again it smells foul as well.

spalex Mon 15-Jan-07 15:38:10

Interesting - some of what I've been looking at says clary sage should not be used at all in pregnancy, and there are also some (fewer) sites / info that say it's OK for use after the 1st trimester. I guess the whole issue about it bringing on contractions may explain why - there's nothing I've found to say it causes any harm to the baby, I imagine if this was an issue it wouldn't be recommended for use in labour. Have just had a few sniffs and it's not the most pleasant smelling stuff, but I'm willing to get over this if it may help kick start things!

spalex Mon 15-Jan-07 15:41:57

Kittylette perhaps it was the sex that had more of an impact with you then - stop making me jealous! Mary, I have tried diy orgasms, but to no avail (although no great hardship ) I thought it was something in sperm that helps ripen the cervix effectively, hence why sex is better than diy - if you can get it!

Kittypickle Mon 15-Jan-07 15:42:04

I had a session of accupuncture and then rubbed a few drops of clary sage diluted in carrier oil into my bump a few hours later. Went into labour that eveing. I did read that you have to be very careful that you only used a small amount due to the intensity of the contractions that it can bring on.

tenbygirl Mon 15-Jan-07 15:44:49

If your hubby doesn't fancy sex then he can always "sort himself out" - into a jar. Then give you the contents. Get it near your cervix!! Sperm has natural prostaglandins in.

lulumama Mon 15-Jan-07 15:52:19

if your first baby was 42 weeks , then 39 +4 might be a bit soon to try to get things going!

i'd do the sex/ orgasm thing, nipple stim, raspberry leaf to tone the uterus, bouncing on a gym ball and reflexology

and visualise the birth you want! a lot !

and rest and nurture yourself, try to banish negative thoughts about the birth and the what ifs, each birth is different, no reason your second will be the same...

good natural induction tips

megandsoph Mon 15-Jan-07 15:55:34

IIRC Spunk has prostagladin (sp?) in it which is what is in the peseries used to ripen the cervix at the beginning on induction.

spalex Mon 15-Jan-07 16:02:38

I was thinking about nipple stim, but I'm so sore there I just can't face it. For some reason my nipples have become ultra tender over the past few days. DP brushed against them in bed the other night and I howled in pain and had to restrain myself from kicking him very hard!

lulumama Mon 15-Jan-07 16:23:39

spunk! lol

<<serious voice>>

semen does indeed contain prostoglandins, which is the natural equivalent of the pessary you are given to ripen the cervix.

nipple stim and orgasm release oxytocin, which can help bring on and/ or strengthen contractions

far better to encourage the natural release of hormones than the synthetic alternative, IMHO

megandsoph Mon 15-Jan-07 16:58:26

cheritongirl Mon 15-Jan-07 18:36:52

my doula used clary sage with me when i was in labour - i think she was chucking it in the water in the birthing pool but she may have been waving it under my nose (its a bit of a blur!) but can definitely remember the smell and think it helped!

jofeb04 Mon 15-Jan-07 19:41:43

As an aromatherapist, I would actually not give Clary Sage to a Client.

marymillington Mon 15-Jan-07 20:35:30

thanks tenby. sadly a natural childbirth may be well out of my reach as i ended up with a c/s with my first son. if i do go for a normal delivery i just want to think about options for 3rd stage, have heard some negative things about syntometrine.....are you a midwife?

jofebe04 - can you tell us more? also, i'm wondering if there is a specific essential oil that you would recommend for transition, or for generally perking yourself up and fortifying yourself during 2nd stage? cheers

jofeb04 Mon 15-Jan-07 20:41:50

As a rule, I don't offer Clary Sage as it can bring on labour similar to that of being induced in some clients (such as very painful contractions from early stage, too quick for your own body!). Also, like any oil, there can be a reaction on your skin.

I have only used Clary Sage on a client who was 41+3 and was going to be induced anyway, and she was a client I had worked with throughout the pregnancy (in other therapies) so I knew her well.

I do no of oils suitable, but can't say them on here as I do not know the client etc (its not worth the risk iykwim), so CAT me or email me jopowell1 at yahoo dot co dot uk

tenbygirl Mon 15-Jan-07 20:48:24

I'm a student midwife Mary. Syntometrine actually increases your risk of a retained placenta, it causes your cervix to clamp down after 6 mins.

marymillington Mon 15-Jan-07 21:01:19

thanks tg yes, that's what i'd heard. though my community midwife - who is usually wonderful - glossed over that rather. after a c/s first time, i'm reluctant to end up in theatre regardless even if i do manage a normal delivery.

jo, will cat you, cheers

joolsandoliver Mon 15-Jan-07 21:24:41

I rubbed oil with clary sage and lavender essential oils into my belly from about 38 wks, also drank bucket loads of raspberry leaf tea. Did the nipple stimulation too, which I think helped with getting the colostrum going... but not the labour. Jumped up and down and ate curry. The latter may have succeeded in making my baby poo himself, with all the joys meconium liquor entails I can't recommend this!! Finally went into labour 10 days over after membrane sweep #2.

I remember at the time thinking there was no evidence base for most of the induction tips, but was still going to try them all just in case it worked anyway. I did find one research article that found women who drank raspberry leaf tea had a slightly quicker second (pushing) stage - it was only by 10 minutes but at 40wks preg that sounds great doesn't it?!

You'll have your baby very soon, even if it feels like forever now. Just try to get plenty of rest and best of luck.

spalex Tue 16-Jan-07 08:49:20

Thanks for all the tips and suggestions. I had a bath last night with some clary sage oil, and.... nothing (not a big surprise, but it was worth a shot!) Will keep trying the other stuff as well, and hopefully may produce some results before too long.
Oh, and can someone please tell me what 'CAT'ing someone means?! Ta xx

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