Many women find a lot of comfort laboring in the tub. So much so that they often give birth in there. When a baby is born under water, usually in a tub or birth pool, it is called a water birth. Water birth is available in Houston in most homes and birth centers. Unfortunately, at this time, there are no hospitals in Houston that offer water birth. There are a few that are equipped to offer the option of laboring in the tub, but delivering your baby in the tub won't be allowed. Check with your hospital to see if this option is available.
Many women choose water birth or water labor because it has been shown to shorten labor, speed up labor, and helps to ease the discomforts of labor. For these reasons, it has been dubbed "Nature's Epidural."
Sometimes laboring in the tub is not feasible for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons I have seen are: the facility is not equipped with tubs, having ruptured membranes with a care provider who is not comfortable with the client laboring in the tub, or the electronic fetal monitors do not work very well in the tub. Sometimes women just don't like the idea of laboring in the tub.
The shower is a great compromise. Showers provide many of the same benefits as tubs. Using the shower during labor also provides an opportunity for some much-needed privacy, which is also super beneficial for labor. Feeling watched can slow labor down.
It is important to stay hydrated during labor. Dehydration can slow contractions down during labor. Take sips of water between contractions, or try a nice Labor-aid recipe. One of the perks of drinking lots of water during labor is the need to empty your bladder often. Sitting on the toilet is a great way to encourage dilation as our bodies are already used to relaxing there.
Your care provider may recommend IV fluids during labor in order to avoid dehydration as well.
Many women extol the benefits of laboring or giving birth in water. Ask your care provider how she can support making labor easier for you...using water!