Water is often used by women to ease the discomforts of labor.
Whether standing in a shower, sitting in your own bathtub at home, or fully reclining in a large tub built just for laboring, many women find instant relief of their labor discomfort from the use of water. Their relaxed bodies release fewer stress hormones and their labors proceed more quickly and easily, with less discomfort. No wonder that the idea of water immersion is so appealing to many women.
Open Door Birth Center is set up for water birth for clients who choose this option. For clients who wish to have a water birth at home, the one obvious need is the tub. If the client has a deep tub, such as a Jacuzzi, in her home, this is an ideal option for her. Use of a standard bathtub or shower may be sufficient, but most women find that the greatest degree of relaxation is achieved if the belly can be submerged as fully as possible. For clients who want to have the deeper water available but do not have a built-in Jacuzzi-type tub, I will assist them in finding a tub to rent or purchase. There are now low cost tubs available, costing only 30$. You may enter the tub at any time during active labor, although waiting until you are dilated to about 5 cms is recommended. Often, the relaxation afforded by the warm water will allow you to dilate more quickly and easily, resulting in a shorter, more comfortable labor.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR TUB USE & PLACEMENT:
- Location of electrical outlets
- Size and temperature-setting of hot water heater
- Sturdiness of flooring where tub will be placed
- Availability of ample bath towels
- Ability to protect flooring under tub
- Easy access to out-of-tub birthing/recovery area (bed, mattress on floor, etc)
- Proximity to bathroom (true for all births!)
Laboring in the water is almost always possible and usually very helpful. If, as part of your birth plan, it is also your intention to give birth in the water, I am comfortable with this as a goal and willing to do my best to help you achieve it. However, like anything else in a birth plan, this needs to be flexible; if events occur during your labor that contraindicate water birthing, you must be willing to follow the course of action that is best for you and your baby, even if this means birthing outside the tub.