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Aromatherapy in midwifery: professional responsibilities


Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy that uses essential oils of plants to achieve therapeutic effects. Midwives can offer complementary therapies to women if they have been trained in their use and follow the required professional frameworks for regulation, permissions, monitoring and insurance. All midwives practising complementary therapies are required to practise according to the Code (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) 2015a), The Midwives’ Rules(NMC 2012), and the Standards for Medicines Administration (NMC 2007). Midwives who are practising within the NHS must also abide by the rules and guidelines of their employing institution. These include: safe administration of medications; practising only when competent; providing correct safety, storage and administration instructions for clients; record keeping; and proper evaluation of the course of treatment and ongoing care.

Learning aims and objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Define the use of essential oils within pregnancy and childbearing
  • Identify the professional guidelines governing the use of aromatherapy within midwifery practice
  • Identify and explore key professional issues relating to the use of aromatherapy in midwifery
  • Correctly identify who can prescribe, administer and monitor the use of aromatherapy oils in midwifery
  • Explore safety and accountability issues relating to midwives practising aromatherapy

Keywords and linking topics

Aromatherapy, midwifery, accountability, safety, complementary therapies, women’s choice, professional issues

Activities and questions at the end of this resource will enable you to assess your knowledge surrounding aromatherapy and your professional responsibilities.

In the following questions, please select the answer that you believe to be correct. This will be marked and then you move on to the next question. If you wish at the end, you can return for a further attempt at the questions. Upon completion of the module, you will be able to download and save or print a certificate to include in your CPD/ revalidation portfolio.