Can Clary Sage Induce Labor? (And It’s Many Benefits)

Share this article:

Clary sage essential oil can’t help induce labor or contractions. Still, it can help a mother in labor in various ways. This oil can help relieve anxiety levels, nausea, and pain levels during labor when used as an aromatherapy. It can help you calm down and soothe pain and discomfort during labor. Some clinical studies show it helps lower blood pressure, relieves anxiety, and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. It might help elevate your mood and work as a great stress buster. There might be some minor side effects, so it’s better to use it at home once you complete 37 weeks of pregnancy. Consult with your midwife and doctor if you’re sure about using it during labor. 

Aromatherapy which involves using essential oils to induce labor, hasn’t been medically approved. Still, it seems to work like a charm for some pregnant parents.

Clary sage is one such essential oil that has been used by many pregnant women/parents trying to induce labor. 

Not to be used until you’ve achieved 37 weeks of pregnancy, clary sage comes with many health benefits that might be useful and promote in-inducing labor.

It can’t surely replace any necessary medication and pain relief, but there’s no harm when it comes to trying it.

As an essential oil, it does help the mother stay calm and become comfortable.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of using this clary sage essential oil for pregnant moms out there and if it does help in inducing labor. 

Clary sage for inducing labor

Clary sage is often used as an essential oil in treatments because it has plenty of health benefits that can help those pregnant moms during their pregnancy and when in labor.

It’s better to be clear in the beginning that clary sage essential oil can’t be used to start contractions, but it does indeed help in relieving anxiety, nausea, and pain during the labor process. 

The scents can trigger reactions in the body and brain that will aid in keeping one calmer and comfortable during the whole labor process.

There’s a way to use clary sage essential oil, and it works best when the actual labor process is about to happen or is happening. That’s why it’s recommended to use it after completing 37 weeks of pregnancy. 

There have been a few studies about it where it’s stated that while clary sage or any other essential oil might not actually start a contraction or cause the water to break, it might aid in inducing labor. 

A pregnant woman is inhaling clary sage essential oil that is coming out of the diffuser

Upon inhaling the clary sage scent by aromatherapy, an increase in oxytocin level and uterine contraction was expected to be induced as well. But there was no uterine contraction.

It can’t be used to treat any pregnancy-related issues or affect whether you’ll need a c-section

Benefits of clary sage during labor

Below is a list of possible health benefits that can help when a woman is about to go into labor or is in labor. But it’s worth noticing that the study group involved a small number of participants, which were humans or rats in some cases.

Antidepressant effets

Clary sage claims to be better at having an antidepressant or antistress effect out of all the essential oils. The researchers also concluded that clary sage oil might be an effective treatment for depression. The impact of this particular oil was closely linked to the feel-good hormone dopamine.

A study conducted in 2010 published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology investigated the antidepressant and stress-fighting effects of several different essential oils in rats. These oils included clary sage, chamomile, rosemary, and lavender.

During pregnancy, a mother goes through a spectrum of emotions where some might even go through a depressive phase as hormones are overpowering at this time.

Using clary sage oil can help provide a calmer effect and trigger happy hormones, beneficial both for the mom and the baby.

Lowering blood pressure and anti-anxiety effects

A pregnant woman is resting after using clary sage essential oil to help with her anxiety and pregnancy pain

Anxiety is a prominent factor of pregnant moms all around the world. It can be induced to what’s in store for them in future and if the baby will be fine and how will they be able to manage the birth process and their baby when it’s born. 

A lot of stress and anxiety come around in the last couple of months when it all feels too real for the expecting parents. Due to this reason, there’s a high chance of blood pressure increasing too. 

A study published in 2013 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that inhaled clary sage oil significantly lowered blood pressure and calmed the breathing of women with urinary incontinence undergoing assessment. 

The paper concluded by saying that inhaling this oil can work as an effective way to promote relaxation. Along with this paper, another piece of research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that it leads to a significant reduction in dominant and anxious behavior when tested on animal subjects. 

Anti-inflammatory effects

For those who might experience inflammation during their pregnancy, clary sage might be beneficial in reducing inflammation. 

Many factors can induce inflammation during pregnancy, such as environmental exposures, including smoking and diet, and conditions such as preeclampsia, obesity, and gestational diabetes. These are well-known fetal stressors that can cause developmental adaptions. 

This is mostly low-grade systemic inflammation, and using an essential oil such as clary sage might reduce it to some extent. 

Other health benefits of clary sage:

  • Clary sage is also thought to improve mental function by improving memory, increasing alertness, and potential Alzheimer’s fighting effects. 
  • It’s also thought to have antibacterial qualities and is found to reduce the growth of E.coli significantly and appeared to attack bacteria cells in several different ways. It might even have some anti-fungal properties. 

Using clary sage during labor

Usage of clary sage essential oil is said to have worked best when you go into labor and as long as it’s used as directed. This being established, the safest way to use this oil would be via an electric aromatherapy diffuser. 

Smelling and inhaling the scent of clary sage when you’re in labor will immensely help you calm down your nerves, reduce anxiety, and lower your stress levels. This is the safest option to make sure you can benefit from this oil.

Like tea tree oil, clary sage should also be mixed with a carrier oil such as almond and then massaged on a particular body part. Applying it directly without mixing it in a carrier oil might trigger an allergic reaction and can cause a different issue to deal with during labor. 

It only makes sense to avoid any kind of experiments while in labor. Ingesting clary sage is also something you shouldn’t do. It’s an essential oil, and they aren’t supposed to be consumed. This isn’t going to help you in any way but create more problems to be solved. 

There’re a couple of side effects which you might experience and so knowing about them before will give you a better idea whether to use it or not. These includes:

  • Eye irritation
  • Nose or throat irritation
  • Headache
  • Allergic reaction
  • Lung irritation or asthma 

When using an aromatherapy diffuser, ensure it’s kept away from children in a safe place where there’s no risk of harming anyone. 

One way to make sure that you can avoid the side effects is to test it at home before you go into labor and after the completion of your 37 weeks of pregnancy. At home, you can see if you experience side effects. You can avoid using it during labor, but if you sense it’s helping you out, then include it as a must-have.

It’s better to talk to your midwife and doctor if you feel strongly about using essential oil during labor. Talking with them will help you figure out a better way and create no issues at the last minute. 

Other essential oils helpful for labor

You must be thinking if clary sage is the only essential oil that can help you during the labor process or other oils can prove beneficial. There’re different essential oils available in the market with several other benefits. Some of them include:

  • Citrus blossom oil is said to help lower down levels of anxiety during labor, which might also help lower down pain levels.
  • Lavender essential oil is beneficial in improving sleep and easing insomnia which happens when you’re relaxed. During labor, it can help you relax and calm down.
  • Jasmine oil helps uplift one’s mood and greatly affects when used in massaging during labor to ease discomfort and pain. Lower back massage with it is said to reduce pain and make labor easier and faster.
  • Peppermint oil is another pain reliever and helps with headaches, nausea, and dizziness.


Does clary sage help with dilation?

You can use clary sage essential oil during labor to help soothe your nerves, calm down, and maybe reduce a bit of your pain during the process.

It might help balance hormones and encourage the release of oxytocin. Release muscle tension and help the last but of muscle dilation needed for the baby to be born. 

Where do you apply clary sage?

Clary sage is an essential oil that should never be applied to the skin directly but mix a few drops of clary sage with a carrier oil such as almond and then massaged into the skin.

For pregnant women, it’s best to apply this oil after 37 weeks of pregnancy, for it might have a chance of inducing labor which should be before 37 weeks. 

For best results, the oil can be applied to the lower back, which will also help soothe your nerves and some back pain observed in the last months of pregnancy. You can also apply it to the bottom of the foot. 

When should you not use clary sage?

Clary sage should never be used before your expected due date, which means anytime before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

This can result in excessive Braxton Hicks contractions, which can distress your baby or cause complications such as bleeding. 

Can I rub clary sage oil on my belly?

If you want to rub clary sage oil on your belly, you should know that it’s not advisable to use any essential oil directly onto the skin, and it can cause an allergic reaction.

To avoid any allergic reaction to clary sage oil, mix it with a carrier oil such as almond and then massage it. 

To create a blend with the ratio of 2 drops of clary sage oil to a teaspoon of carrier oil like almond. You can then massage it around the abdomen area, including the hips, pelvis, and lower back. It can also be rubbed into your feet and palms.

To summarize

After looking at some small-scale studies, we can say that clary sage essential oil has some health benefits for the person using it during their pregnancy. These benefits can help you labor in ways such as calming down and significantly reducing stress and anxiety levels. 

It can elevate your mood and maybe even reduce some labor pain levels. However, no extensive study on clary sage has yet been done to establish its importance for pregnancy and inducing labor. So, it might not cause contractions.

But as aromatherapy, can make you feel more relaxed and comfortable during labor pains. It’s better to talk to your doctor about it well before your due date, and it’s better to be prepared to include it in your birthing process at the hospital. If you get an emergency or planned c-section, it won’t be allowed in the surgery room.

The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved essential oil such as clary sage for any treatment, but some clinical studies show the benefits of aromatherapy. So, try using it at home once you complete 37 weeks of pregnancy and see how suitable it’s for you and the baby. 



Share this article:

Was this article helpful?
Saumya Malik
I'm an ardent follower of everything good for the health and wellness of body and mind. I am passionate about providing effective solutions to general health and mental well-being issues and wants to help people achieve the same. When I'm not writing, you can find me curled up with a good book in a corner or cooking as a form of good mental therapy.

We’re proud to be a team of writers who are truly passionate about all things health.

Coming together from all parts of the world, we share a common goal of helping serve many with our comprehensive research and clear writing style. Learn more.

Nutrition & Diet