Alongside the standard methods of labour pain relief such as gas and air and epidurals, midwives in Bristol will now be offering relaxation and massage with essential oils to help ease labour pains, sickness, muscle aches or anxiety.
24 midwives at North Bristol NHS trust have recently completed their training in aromatherapy and are now offering the treatment at Southmead Hospital’s birth suite and in the local community for home births.
The treatments are centred around the use of seven basic oils which are selected to suit different symptoms and combined (using a maximum of three) with one another before being added to a base.
Application methods include infusion, inhalation, foot-bath’s, compresses, drops and massage and can only be applied and mixed by midwives who have received training.
Mary Carlisle, manager of Southmead’s birth suite, said: “Aromatherapy reduces anxiety and fear by helping women feel more relaxed and can help to reduce symptoms such as heart burn or backache. ”
Mary added that although aromatherapy is a fantastic option, it isn’t necessarily the right one for every women and this is why the midwives will undertake a full assessment to make sure that the oils will be safe and beneficial for the patient.
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