Aim: Perinatal negative emotions are common in parturient women, but the problems are often ignored. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that investigated the effectiveness of aromatherapy for intrapartum anxiety (IPA) and postpartum emotional symptoms (PES). Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, Cochrane library, and ClinicalTrials.gov to identify suitable RCTs for analysis, and the study was reported according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Results: Nine RCTs were included. The meta-analysis showed aromatherapy reduced IPA during the early to active phase (standardized mean difference [SMD]: −1.56 [−2.55, −0.61]) and during the transition phase (SMD: −3.30 [−4.97, −1.63]) when compared with controls. For the postpartum period, the meta-analyses showed a reduction of postpartum depression (PPD) at week 2 (SMD: −0.43 [−0.82, −0.03]), and a non-significant trend toward the reduction of PPD at weeks 4–6 (SMD: −0.70 [−1.40, 0.01]). Conclusion: Our study found some evidence supporting the effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing intrapartum anxiety and PES. We recommend the optional use of aromatherapy for intrapartum and postpartum care.
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