Pushing Oil

Edited for clarity:  It has been brought to my attention, that some people refer to “conehead” as the molding of the baby’s head.  A baby’s skull bones are flexible, and at times overlap, in order to aid baby in navigating the dimensions of it’s mother’s pelivs. This herbal oil, will in no way prevent that!  That is a beneficial adaptation that a baby makes as it is born. When I refer to “conehead”, I am referring to caput succedaneum.  Caput is a swelling on the scalp of the newborn brought about by prolonged pressure on the vagina or cervix. Midwifery practice, and texts, including the venerable Anne Frye in her Holistic Midwifery tome on labor, recommend applying arnica oil directly to the baby’s scalp to reduce the swelling associated with caput.  This is what I use for just that purpose. Thanks for the feedback.


Sometimes babies really do slide right out. Other times they need a little help.  The past few births I’ve been at, have been the latter. Long pushing stages. One marathon mama pushed for 6+ hours!  When the pushing stage of labor, known as the second stage, lasts for more thapushingoiln an hour both mom and baby could use a little herbal help to reduce bruising, tearing, and what is affectionately known as ‘conehead’ in the baby.


The herbs in this oil work so well together.  It’s formulated to prevent bruising, reduce swelling and perineal tears. It can also help with any bruising that occurs on baby’s head as she makes her way through the birth canal (it does happen!).  Have your midwife or doctor pour about one tablespoon in their glove and drizzle it into the vagina and over the baby’s head. It can be reapplied as often as needed.


It is effective during the notorious “ring of fire” as well.  The herbs help to bring circulation to those oh-so-stretched vaginal tissues, thereby reducing the burning sensation. When applied during this phase, it can reduce what we midwives call “skid marks”.  Skid marks are not really tears, but more like skinned knees in your vaginal tissue. Ouch!  They often sting worse than true tears during the first days postpartum.


Make a batch in your third trimester.  Add it to your birth bag and ask your midwife or doctor to use it during your second stage.  You can thank me later!


Ginger:  Ginger is included for its warming and anti-inflammatory properties.  Traditionally women make ginger compresses to use while pushing for the same reasons. I had a mom who delivered baby #7 with me earlier this year. She swears by using ginger to prevent tearing. She has the track record to prove it!


Arnica: Arnica flowers are well known amongst herbalists for their rapid and effective reduction of bruising and swelling when applied topically.  I’ve seen them reduce bruises right before my eyes. 


Calendula: Calendula is another great herb for skin. It contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids and retinoids.  It also has antiseptic properties and can help prevent infections of the perineum. It is most often used for skin inflammations.


Sesame and Olive Oils: Sesame oil is wonderful when used on the perineum.  Ayurvedic medicine highly recommends sesame oil for new moms as it pacifies the air and wind they accumulate postpartum.  It is also a grounding oil, something every mom pushing needs! Olive oil is added for its nourishing properties. 


Helichrysum: Helicrhysum essential oil is what really sets this herbal oil apart.  It is best known for it’s skin rejuvenating properties, and often used to prevent or heal bruises, stretch marks and scars.  I’ve also added lavender and ginger essential oils for their scents and healing properties. 



Pushing Oil
A soothing herbal oil for the second stage of labor
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  1. 4 oz of sesame oil, olive oil, or a combination
  2. 1/4 cup arnica flowers
  3. 1/4 cup calendula flowers
  4. 2 TBS dried ginger
  5. 10-20 drops of Helichrysum oil
  6. 5 drops lavender or ginger essential oil (optional)
  1. To a pint jar add the dried herbs.
  2. Pour the sesame and olive oil to the top of jar. Put a lid on it.
  3. Keep in a cool, dry place for 4-6 weeks.
  4. Shake occasionally.
  5. At the end of the 4-6 week period, strain into clean jar.
  6. Add essential oils.
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