Rose Oil and Preparing for Labor

I am 35 weeks pregnant and have been looking for some natural ways to prepare my body for labor and delivery. I read through probably 10 pages of links after googling "essential oils for labor" and "natural preparation for delivery" and found two pages on essential oils that were very clear (I like each of those websites in their entirety, as well) and a couple other natural products that I feel comfortable using.

One of the oils that was recommended was rose essential oil. Rose essential oil helps soften ligaments. This helps your pelvis to expand more easily for the baby to pass through. I have very narrow hips and while I may have had no problems getting my other two kids past my pelvis, I figure my body can use all the help I can give it! Unfortunately for our budget, rose oil is EXPENSIVE! Like, $140 for 10 ml. I did a lot of research to find out why it was so costly and learned that to produce 1 pound of rose oil it can take 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of rose petals. Crazy! Our beautiful yard has about 20 rose bushes, so *of course* my next thought was to see if there was any way I could make my own rose oil! I knew there would be no way for me to make a product as refined or concentrated as a commercial producer, but I also knew that for free I could probably end up with a product to meet my needs. I was so happy to find this post! I've now spent every day of this last week harvesting and processing my roses, complete with pictures, for you!

(make sure everything is clean and dry)

medium bowl and colander for collecting rose petals
2 pint mason jars, one lid
1 canning funnel
1 silicone spatula
large bowl, at least 8 cups
small spray bottle (for collecting rose water if you choose)


1 cup or so of mild oil (I used sweet almond oil, but other appropriate oils would be jojoba, grapeseed, or light olive oil)
1 cup or so of rose petals (per day - the more days you repeat, the stronger the scent)


Pick your rose petals. I tried to get 7-10 blooms (and usually ended up with more than a cup of petals). The kids helped me pluck the petals off the stems and place them in our colander which was nestled inside a medium bowl. I then filled the bowl with water, agitated it, drained it, and repeated until I was positive I'd washed all the bugs and dirt out of the petals. You could use a salad spinner to spin excess water off, but that excess is where I got our rose water from (you'll see!).

Fill the large bowl with water (my pyrex bowl could be filled to the 6 cup line without covering the pint jar) and microwave for 4-6 minutes. Fill one of the pint jars with a cup of so of oil. While you're waiting for the water to heat up, start stuffing your jar with petals. I would grab a handful of petals, squeezing and crushing all the water I could out of them, then stuff them into the jar.

The water that I squeezed back into the medium bowl I then strained into a small spray bottle (rose water!).

Once your jar is stuffed and all the petals are covered in oil, put the lid on and place the jar into the large bowl of hot water. Leave it on your counter for 24 hours. If you'd like, when the water has cooled, you can move the jar to a warm place.

If you only had one cup of rose petals, you can stop there. I had many more bushes to harvest, so I kept going:

One day two, prepare your equipment by placing the canning funnel in your second pint jar, and layering your cheesecloth over the funnel. I folded my cheesecloth so there were 6 layers to strain the oil through. To make it easier to strain the oil out of the rose petals, I re-microwaved the water (not with the pint jar in it!) and then set the jar back in to heat up while I went out back to pick more roses.

Clean your new rose petals just like you did before. Set them aside, and get ready to get messy :) Open your jar of oiled rose petals and dump it into the cheesecloth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the jar with the spatula. Now *squeeze* like your life depends on it! Every drop counts - and I noticed that the oil that strained out at first was clear, but the last oil to come out was dotted with pink and red "bubbles" of pure rose oil.

Once I was done squeezing, I just rubbed the oil all over my hands onto my belly (since that's where it's going to go in the end anyway, right?). Look at how beautiful this oil is! The almond oil that has separated to the top smells heavenly, but I'm guessing if I want to maximize the potency of the rose oil, I'll have to shake it up or use a syringe to pull that red liquid from the bottom for use.

From here on out, I just kept squeezing the water out of the petals, stuffing them into the jar of oil, letting the jar sit for 24 hours in warm water, and repeating until I was out of patience. I never ran out of petals - I still have three full bushes that never got touched, but after seven days of picking, washing, straining, and waiting, I was done! Here is the end result, oil and water:

I'm keeping both in my fridge. Every evening I've been rubbing the rose oil on my belly, hoping that to get a double whammy of "no stretch marks" and "loosening ligaments". I'll update this post once I deliver baby #3 so you can get an idea of if it worked for me or not! Either way, I smell delightful!

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