So, you’ve decided to go natural – or you’re even contemplating those first few hours of early labour. You’ve heard of other mummies ploughing through like champs all because of one little detail in common: they used water to their advantage.
BUT you’re not really sure what all the hype is about.
I’m here to fix that! Imagine:
Puffing, panting, groaning. Heavy breathing. You hold onto your partner and almost give him a neck injury. You prop yourself up with the help of the doorway as another ripple of intensity washes over your entire body.
You wipe the sweat from your brow, you’re a warrior. You can do this, you tell yourself whilst struggling to feel the strength in your legs. Your whole body aches.
THEN IT COMES TO YOU. THE BIRTH POOL!
You patiently wait for it to be filled up.
‘Almost done’ you vaguely hear them say.
You carefully place once foot at a time into…..
What feels like paradise. Suddenly everything becomes easier as the hot, almost-steaming water laps over your tired muscles.
You moan with pleasure as you find a position on the soft floor and let the heat cover your bulging belly.
You’re in your own world now, you and baby, working together.
You breathe a long sigh and let all tensions subside.
Sound like an experience you would like to have?
Then read on to find out five benefits of labouring in water….
Okay, so this first point covers something vital in water birthing: the fact that you don’t have to hold the weight of your body. And when you’ve put on those pounds during pregnancy, that can come as a great relief.
A great amount of women (including me when it was my turn) experience back pain during labour. Usually it’s our little cherub in an awkward position – for example with his head pushing against the back, or could be caused by mummy’s posture or pelvis shape.
Getting to the point: back pain of any sort is usually worse when we’re on our feet, because we have to support the weight of our bodies.
The spine, if we think about it, is what holds us up and stops us being a blob of jelly.
Can water birth be beneficial even if I don’t have back pain?
Yes, you don’t have to experience lower back pain, bouyancy in the water can alleviate pain in the uterus too.
If your body is held up and supported by the water, you’ll have one less thing to worry about and be able to let yourself go!
For me, what makes water birth so special is that you can move about as you please.
If you’re a mum looking to ‘go natural’ and really dive into the powerful experience birth can be, then this is for you.
Over the last 200 years, the laid back position has become much more common among doctors mainly for one reason – it highly facilitates them to see what’s going on, you know…down there.
Not only this, it then developed into the go-to position whether the birth was determined as complicated or not.
Though the practice is widely spread throughout Europe, recently women have been regaining their birthing knowledge: that in the most part of cases, gravity needs to interplay.
What does that mean exactly?
What I’m saying is, if you want to succeed in your desire to labour naturally, you gotta move around sis!
Squatting, frog position, lying on your side….and it’s much easier to change from position to position in water, without the need of a whole team to assist you each time.
3) Faster labor, fewer interventions
Warm water can be used during early labour, or throughout. Even a long hot shower during the first few hours can relax any tensions mum may have and let the body do it’s job more efficiently.
It is said that the calming effect on the body allows mum to ‘switch off’ mentally, which is just what she needs to do to get the ball rolling, and quickly too.
The concept of time begins to disappear usually when a woman is giving birth, if she is in the right conditions for entering in her ‘bubble’. So, even if time doesn’t actually pass any quicker, mum will be at ease.
Many women also find that they feel more in control in the water, especially as the pool gave them a sort of private space without anyone looking where they didn’t want them to
Again this kind of comfort allows room for completely ‘letting go’, leading for less need for painkillers or interventions.
Need help chilling out this pregnancy? I’ve got something just for that…
4) Reduces risk of tearing
As said with the above point, most women naturally prefer a warm, semi-dark nest to birth in. Warm water, accompanied by candle light or music, can go a long way.
Using the idea that every woman knows how to birth her baby because her body is made for that, we can say that the majority of cases where tearing occurs, it is usually held by tension held in the jaw.
When the woman birthing can hold onto the sides of the tub, put her feet up on the edge, or change position freely as she wishes, she is less prone to have a tight jaw which is associated with a tight uterus opening.
The great surge to suddenly push can overwhelm us and if we tighten up against this sensation, we can push a little too strongly instead of let’s say ‘breathing baby out’ or letting her slide out.
That’s the thing: water helps women work with this sensation rather than against.
5) Helps you and baby relax
The body is desgined to birth. How many times have you heard that and yet you’re still anxious?
Let’s break it down.
We all know that feeling when you slide into a hot bath. What’s the first thing you do?
A deep sigh.
So we know that hot water relaxes us but why exactly? Well, if mum is immersed in the water up to her shoulders, her blood pressure will drop. Lower blood pressure means that our good old friend oxytocin is released more efficiently and arrives to the placenta: stress-free baby.
What is there not to love? The more you’re able to relax physically during labor, the more your mind will too.
Ladies have any of you tried a water birth? Leave a comment below and let me know how it went.
Information from americanpregnancy and own experience.