Information about the aromatherapy postdates antenatal clinic

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY1119/2020
  • Departments: Maternity Services
  • Last Updated: 26 June 2020


This leaflet has been produced to give general information about the use of aromatherapy during a post-dates pregnancy. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet, it is not intended to replace a discussion with your midwife, but provides you with information needed to start a discussion and make an informed choice. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation please discuss this with a member of the Ivy team.

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy and uses blends of essential oils to use during a massage or a foot spa.

What is a post-dates aromatherapy clinic?

This is the use of the essential oils for pregnancies that have gone past their expected due date. The combination of using essential oils with an aromatherapy massage or foot bath for women who have gone past their expected due date, They is evidence that suggests that aromatherapy encourages the onset of spontaneous labour and aids relaxation. You will also be offered a membrane sweep prior to having an aromatherapy massage or foot bath. 

What is a membrane sweep?

From 40 weeks pregnant, if you are a first time mum and 41 weeks for subsequent pregnancies you will be offered a vaginal examination to perform a membrane sweep.

This involves your midwife placing a finger just inside your cervix (neck of the womb) and making a circular, sweeping movement to separate the membranes from the cervix. This has been shown to increase the chances spontaneous labour starting, and can reduce the need for an induction of labour.

The clinic, what will happen?

The clinic will be held at East Riding Community Hospital in an evening, when you reach 40 weeks pregnant (first time mums) and 41 weeks for subsequent pregnancies you will be allocated an appointment where your midwife will perform a routine antenatal appointment and you will also be offered a membrane sweep.

Once these checks are completed you will attend the clinic room where you will have a choice of an aromatherapy hand or back massage or a foot bath. This will be performed with a blend of essential oils. A consent form will need to be signed and a full risk assessment for use of the oils will be performed by your midwife.

The combination of this treatment has been evidenced to reduce induction of labour by encouraging the onset of labour, the length of labour and aid relaxation during the post-dates period.

You will be given an appointment time to attend. Please bring with you your handheld records and a towel to the appointment.

Am I eligible?

This treatment will be offered to women who have gone past there due date who have a singleton and uncomplicated pregnancy. This will be discussed with your midwife at your 36 or 38 week appointment. All midwives providing this treatment are fully trained in providing this treatment.

What will happen afterwards?

After your appointment you will be encouraged to go home and relax, all the contact numbers will be highlighted on your antenatal hand held records for you to call if you go into labour or have any concerns. If you, require another appointment with your midwife this will be arranged at the clinic before you leave.

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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