Around 750,000 pregnant women are offered NHS screening every year in an attempt to detect those babies most likely to have Down's syndrome. Women in labour will now be offered relaxation and massage using essential oils to help ease labour pains, sickness, muscle aches and anxiety. Midwives at North Bristol NHS Trust, who have been trained in aromatherapy, are offering the services.
The therapy has been offered at Southmead Hospital's birth suite, in Bristol, during home births and will be offered at Cossham Birth Centre, the city’s first midwife-led birth centre, when it opens in the autumn of next year.
If successful the technique could rolled out to other parts of the country.