Water immersion during labor and/or birth
Improving the complete birth experience
Most women who have used warm water baths for labor or birth report very positive feelings about it. They report less pain, a greater sense of relaxation and a greater sense of control.
Soaking or floating in a pool of warm water seems to help your body relax more easily because water creates a sense of weightlessness. Your muscles don’t have to work so hard to support you during labor and there is no pressure on your body to cause local discomfort. This can lead to more relaxation and a sense of reduced pain with the contractions.
Being more relaxed and more comfortable lowers stress hormones caused by labor pain and may have many positive effects.
Improved blood flow
Some researchers feel that being in water improves blood flow to all parts of your body, especially your uterus. They have observed that during labor your blood pressure may be lower if you soak in a tub of warm water. They also feel that improved blood flow may protect your baby against fetal stress.
Many women claim easier, shorter labor
Many people who have participated in waterbirths report that the pushing stage is easier and shorter. Some researchers have found that labor may be somewhat shorter if warm water immersion is used. Other researchers have not found any great difference in the length of labor.
Help regulating temperature
Being in a tub of water that is heated to a normal body temperature can help maintain your own body temperature at a stable level during labor. You may be less likely to become chilled or overheated.
Possibly fewer episiotomies
While research suggests that few episiotomies are performed in women who use warm water baths for birth, it is not certain that there really are fewer tears compared with delivering in a bed.
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Free, 20-minute “get to know you” appointments are available for new maternity patients. Call 503-418-4500 to schedule yours.