Water labor and birth is a very popular choice! If you’ve ever felt stress, tension, pain, or discomfort and entered a warm bath you have probably experienced the relaxing, rejuvenating, and healing properties of water. Water has the same benefits during labor. The relaxation effect of warm water during labor often helps progress to happen more quickly. When you’re able to release tension your body will release endorphins (which ease pain) and oxytocin (which makes contractions); the result is more effective labor with less pain. Who doesn’t want that?! Immersion in warm water increases blood flow in the body resulting in more oxygen to both you and your baby.
Birthways offers and encourages the option of waterbirth in our birth center and at home. We usually recommend that you wait until active labor to enter the bath since in early labor water submersion can slow labor down. Showers are a good alternative in early labor. However, in some cases, slowing labor down through a relaxing tub bath may be a benefit to a tired momma who just needs a rest for a little while. With a short nap her body can be much more effective and she can emotionally handle the task ahead. Many women find that having their partner in the tub with them is both comforting and supportive. The partners usually describe it as awesome!