Using Scientific Support | 3 of 4 Ways to Encourage an Epidural Free Birth | by Doula + Birth Photographer Brittney Hogue


using scientific support

water immersion

Water is such an incredible tool in childbirth. Even if you are not planning a water birth, you can still utilize water therapy for pain relief. Studies show water immersion can provide significant pain relief for up to two hours at a time in labor and delivery. I mean… who isn’t comforted by a warm shower? Water helps us relax. Check out the mama above who is 7-9 cm dilated at the time of this photo, just breathing through her contraction! But how effective is it really? Is it safe? Read this snippet from Evidence Based Birth’s website:

”The bottom line is that researchers have found that water immersion during labor poses no extra risks to the baby. They’ve overwhelmingly found that it lowers the need for pain medications and it makes people feel more satisfied with their pain relief. Hydrotherapy’s effectiveness on pain appears to be less effective than an epidural or spinal, but more effective than using IV opioid drugs. The good thing about water immersion during labor is that there doesn’t seem to be any side effects. Also, evidence shows that water immersion during labor increases people’s satisfaction with their childbirth and their sense of privacy and comfort. Mothers who labor and give birth in water tend to remember their experiences as being more positive and less painful.”

Even ACOG (the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) suggests water immersion is beneficial for laboring mothers. They state, “Immersion in water during the first stage of labor may be associated with shorter labor and decreased use of spinal and epidural analgesia and may be offered to healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies between 37 0/7 weeks and 41 6/7 weeks of gestation.”

Who doesn’t want a shorter, less painful labor? And you aren’t restricted to laboring in total submersion at home either! Locally UnityPoint Health Peoria and Pekin have tubs mothers can labor in when not using pitocin to augment labor. Delivering in Bloomington? Hello Birth Center! Not only will you labor in the tub, but you can birth in it too! You are also free to utilize showers in labor rooms at all area hospitals, even with an IV placed. You need to only ask. A nurse will simply wrap your arm with saran wrap and tape the ends to protect the IV site from water entry.