The Effects of Inhalation Aromatherapy with Boswellia carterii Essential Oil on the Intensity of Labor Pain among Nulliparous Women

Document Type : Original Article



Background: Labor pain is a major reason behind preferring cesarean section over normal vaginal delivery. Aromatherapy is among the most common nonpharmacological therapies for pain. Objectives: The objective of this study aimed to evaluate the effects of inhalation aromatherapy with Boswellia carterii (BC) essential oil on the intensity of labor pain among nulliparous women. Methods: This randomized controlled trial was carried out on 126 nulliparous women. Women were randomly allocated to an aromatherapy (n = 63) and a placebo (n = 63) group. For each woman in the aromatherapy group, a piece of gauze was soaked with 0.2 ml of 0.2% BC essential oil diluted in 2 ml of normal saline, and then, it was attached to the collar of each woman. The intervention was repeated for each woman every 30 min up to a cervical dilation of 10 cm. The intervention in the placebo group was the same as the aromatherapy group except that the gauze was soaked only with 2 ml of normal saline. A numeric pain rating scale was used to assess the labor pain intensity before the intervention and at cervical dilations of 3–4, 5–7, and 8–10 cm. Statistical analyses were performed using descriptive and inferential statistics such as the Chi‑square, the independent sample t‑test, and paired t‑test. Results: Between‑group comparisons revealed that labor pain intensity in the aromatherapy group was significantly lower than the control group at cervical dilations of 3–4 (4.98 ± 0.93 vs. 6.68 ± 1.28, P < 0.001), 5–7 (5.79 ± 1.13 vs. 7.23 ± 1.54, <0.001), and 8–10 cm (6.35 ± 1.63 vs. 7.71 ± 1.38, P < 0.05). However, there were no significant between‑group differences regarding 1 and 5 min Apgar scores (P > 0.05). Conclusion: Inhalation aromatherapy with BC essential oil has positive effects on labor pain. Therefore, it can be used for relieving labor pain in the first stage of labor.