How to Use Water as a Comfort For a Laboring Mother

When thinking of a way to comfort a laboring mom always think of water, especially if she is having a difficult time managing the discomfort. Water can be very therapeutic, in whatever form she receives it.

The shower is the fastest and easiest way to get into the water. You can control the temperature of the water instantly and regulate the pressure. You can also direct the water stream to the mother’s lower back to offer her a little bit of a massage and therefore a relief to this area. This can be quite helpful as it serves as a wonderful distraction. A word of caution though, if you suspect she’s close to delivering be aware that a baby delivered in the shower is extremely slippery. Be prepared to shut off the water immediately if you find out the baby is crowning.

Bath time!

If the mom is more of a bath type of girl then you can fill the tub up for her. This is particularly helpful if you have a nice deep tub that will allow for total submersion. If she’s a little on the adventurous side you can add an herbal mixture to the water to help create a spa atmosphere. This not only will smell lovely but will help her relax. The more she is relaxed the faster her cervix will open and the sooner she will be holding her baby. A beautifully smelling (and particularly relaxing) herb is lavender. You can add a little muslin bag of the herb or a few drops of lavender essential oil to the hot running water to perfume the whole tub. If you’re using the muslin bag you can also tie it around the faucet so all the hot water runs through it, getting as much of the herb goodies from it as possible.

If you own a hot tub or birth tub get in it! Being the owner you can control the temperature. If you make sure you don’t overheat and keep it at a nice bath water temperature then the hot tub would be ideal. They are of the size that you can move around and stretch, thus facilitating the baby getting into the optimal position for the birth and ultimately being born. I see this as the ultimate location for a water birth, providing you can safeguard the mother’s privacy of course! I’ve never had the opportunity to labor in one before but I can tell you that if I find out I’m expecting another baby I will be doing what I can to get one.

Mom gets thirsty working so hard!

Don’t forget to keep mom well hydrated! She can easily forget to drink but drinking water can actually help the mother’s pain tolerance levels! With the uterus being an important muscle in the birth of the baby it is important to keep her body, and therefore all her muscles, well hydrated. Many believe a dehydrated uterus doesn’t contract well and that your body will actually feel discomfort to a higher degree when dehydrated. Always have water available and some form of electrolytes as well, to help her keep up on her salts.

As her doula (or husband) your job is to help mom relax so she can do her job, have her baby.  Do all that you can to make her comfortable and the baby will come.