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Effects of Aromatherapy on Childbirth

The recruitment status of this study is unknown. The completion date has passed and the status has not been verified in more than two years.
Verified January 2013 by University of Nottingham.
Recruitment status was:  Recruiting
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Nottingham Identifier:
First received: January 15, 2010
Last updated: January 15, 2013
Last verified: January 2013

Aromatherapy is a form of complementary medicine that uses scented materials known as essential oils for the purpose of affecting a person's health or mood. Although aromatherapy has been used in childbirth for centuries, there are no high-quality studies examining whether the treatment works.


We would like to see if aromatherapy affects a woman's experience of childbirth by lowering associated anxiety and pain. Consenting participants will be randomly allocated to one of these groups:

  1. Aromatherapy oils (e.g. clary sage, peppermint, lavender, frankincense)
  2. Non-essential oil (baby oil)
  3. Standard maternity care

We will gather primary data, e.g. if she's been in labour before and her awareness of complementary medicine. We will also conduct the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory with her, and provide her with the oil and swab if she is in groups 1 or 2 with instructions to keep the swab with the oil on it near to her. She can also put more oil on the swab as she requires.

Postnatally, data will be collected from her notes regarding pain relief used, duration of labour, augmentation of labour, and any other medical interventions of note. We will also complete the anxiety scale with her once more. Before her discharge we ask the mother for any comments regarding her experience of the labour. The results from all three cohorts will then be compared. There will also be opportunity for the midwife to make any comments regarding his/her perception of the participant's labour. Finally we will hold a focus group with midwives regarding the practicalities for implementation of aromatherapy in maternity care

Condition Intervention Phase
Parturition Natural Childbirth Labor Pain Other: Aromatherapy oil Other: None essential oil Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Official Title: Effects of Aromatherapy on Childbirth

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Nottingham:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Whether aromatherapy can lower levels of anxiety in women in labour [ Time Frame: 1 year ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Whether aromatherapy decreases analgesia use in women in labour [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
  • Whether aromatherapy increases her perceived quality and satisfaction of women in labour [ Time Frame: 1 year ]

Estimated Enrollment: 90
Study Start Date: January 2012
Estimated Study Completion Date: July 2013
Estimated Primary Completion Date: July 2013 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Aromatherapy group 1
Participants will be given essential oil consisting of (Peppermint, Lavender, Clary Sage and Frankincense) together with a swab to put the oil on.
Other: Aromatherapy oil
Oil consists of Clary Sage, Peppermint, Lavender and Frankincense with drops of each mixed into a carrier oil.
Placebo Comparator: Control group 2
Participants receive a bottle of non essential oil and a swab.
Other: None essential oil
Baby oil
No Intervention: Control group 3
Standard maternity care to measure baseline.


Ages Eligible for Study:   16 Years to 45 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • women in labour and expecting a normal delivery,
  • aged > 16 who are able to make informed consent;
  • singleton pregnancy;
  • spontaneous or induced labour onset;
  • prior to elective or emergency caesarean section.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • preterm labour;
  • pool births;
  • scheduled caesarean section.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01051726

Contact: Dawn-Marie Walker, BSc MSc PhD +44 (0)115 82 30511

United Kingdom
Kings Mill Hospital Recruiting
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Contact: dr.dawn marie walker, msc phd    01158230511   
Contact: dr.kahkashan noor, mbbs    01158230457   
Principal Investigator: dr.dawn marie walker, msc phd         
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Nottingham
Principal Investigator: Dawn-Marie Walker, BSc MSc PhD University of Nottingham
  More Information

Responsible Party: University of Nottingham Identifier: NCT01051726     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 10018
Study First Received: January 15, 2010
Last Updated: January 15, 2013

Keywords provided by University of Nottingham:
Complementary Medicine
delivery, obstetric

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Labor Pain
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Signs and Symptoms processed this record on September 21, 2017