Aromatherapy 'makes labour easier'
Aromatherapy is being offered to women in labour as a natural pain relief technique.
Midwives at North Bristol NHS Trust trained in aromatherapy are now offering women relaxation and massage with essential oils to help ease labour pains, sickness, muscle aches and anxiety.
The group of 24 midwives have offered the therapy at Southmead Hospital's birth suite, in Bristol, and in the community for home births.
New mother Sarah Ludwell, 18, from Kingswood, gave birth to her first child, Ethan, on May 14 at Southmead Hospital.
She said: "I had a bath with the oils and a smell stick which attaches to your top.
"I felt a little sick so they gave me peppermint on the smelling stick which is supposed to help with nausea and it really helped, the sickness went away.
"I also had frankincense and lavender, which helped me to feel relaxed.
"The atmosphere was really calm and cosy, it just felt like I was at home."
Midwives have learned about the chemistry of oils and how to mix them to target their properties to relieve symptoms. The midwives use seven basic oils, which include bergamot, clary sage, jasmine, lavender, peppermint, frankincense and grapefruit. These are then mixed with a base oil.
Different combinations of oils, a maximum mixture of three, can be used to suit different symptoms. The oils can be applied by infusion through inhalation, in a footbath, through a compress to the skin or a drop on the hand.