The use of essential oils for pain relief and anxiety during childbirth : a systematic review
Van Rooyen, Rachel M.
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Background - Essential oils as an option for natural pain relief, as well as relief of anxiety during labour, is growing more popular globally. Traditional treatment options for pain and anxiety during childbirth have side-effects that may have a negative effect on both the mother and the baby. Healthcare workers need to be up-to-date with pharmacological as well as non-pharmacological pain and anxiety relief medication and methods in order to provide up-to-date information to pregnant women including both the positive effects, as well as the side effects thereof. Various studies have been done on alternative methods for pain relief and anxiety during childbirth, but only limited research on the use of essential oils as pain and anxiety relief during labour has been done. Aim - The aim of the research was to synthesise the best available evidence of relevant studies of the use of essential oils as non-pharmacological relief of pain and anxiety during labour to contribute to information for pregnant women enabling them to make informed decisions on the desired method to relieve pain and anxiety. Method - This study was a systematic review to present a summary of the best available evidence, as well as to provide a clear overview of the use of essential oils as relief of pain and anxiety during labour. The following databases were used namely: The Cochrane Library, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EBSCOhost, Web-of-Science, ProQuest CINAHL, PubMed and Scopus. Furthermore, in order to ensure transparency, the research was registered on the Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) with registration number: CRD42018105529. Additionally, the reference lists of relevant academic literature were searched to determine if any other primary sources needed to be included. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were used, and all relevant studies were critically appraised with the relevant critical appraisal tools. Results - Fourteen studies were included in the final report. These studies were conducted in countries like India, Indonesia, Thailand, Iran and the United Kingdom. Different methods of administration were used, such as massage, footbath or essential oils added in a birthing pool, and different inhalation methods. Essential oils found to have a positive effect on pain and anxiety during labour included Lavender, Frankincense Olibanum, Clary Sage, Peppermint, Lemon, Mandarin, Rose Absolute, Jasmine, Eucalyptus and Chamomile. Conclusion - The best available evidence acquired during this systematic review indicated that essential oils are perceived to be an effective non-pharmacological method to reduce pain and anxiety during labour.
- Health Sciences