Preparing for Birth Australian Edition Partial Preview - Page 14

Water for Labour and Birth Soaking in a warm bath tub or taking a shower during labour, called hydrotherapy, provides numerous benefits, including significant relaxation, pain relief and decreased anxiety. Labouring in Water The potential benefits of labouring in a warm water tub include: Water Birth Giving birth to a baby while submerged in water, called a water birth, is a safe and beneficial option for healthy women. Research shows giving birth in water helps reduce tearing, is gentler for babies and is highly satisfying for mothers. Ideally, a large, comfortable tub is used and water is maintained at or close to body temperature. • Soothing environment (sound of running water, more privacy and fewer interruptions) • Ease of pressure on joints and tissues (especially the back, hips and legs) • Greater buoyancy and ease of movement • Muscle relaxation and release of tension • Reduction in stress hormones Babies possess mechanisms which prevent • Reduction in blood pressure inhalation of water during birth. Babies are • Shorter labour gently brought to the surface where contact • Reduced Preview desire for an epidural with the cooler air stimulates breathing. • Fewer interventions • Increased overall satisfaction If you choose a water birth, you It is generally considered safe to labour in will need to find a facility that has water if your bag of waters has spontaneously the experience, equipment, and ruptured (SROM). Research has shown no policies to support your choice. increased risks from submersion in water if Many hospitals have tubs for labour SROM occurred within the last 24 hours. but require you to get out for birth. Use caution and common sense when using warm water in labour. Maintain a comfortable temperature of 36-38 degrees C, stay hydrated by drinking frequently, empty your bladder regularly, enter the water when active labour is well established to prevent labour from slowing down and get out if you feel dizzy or faint. 38 Comfort Measures