Rub-a-Dub-Dub Labor in the Tub
In the throes of labor, when my patients ask me how my deliveries went, they are often incredulous when I tell them that I had two all-natural births with my daughters. I see them instantly start watching me warily, wondering if I’m going to try to stop them from getting drugs.
“Oh no, it’s not like that,” I rush on to say. “I’m not against epidurals or medications,” I explain. “It’s just the hospital I delivered at had whirlpool jetted tubs. I found that it was all the pain relief I needed.”
And it’s true. I didn’t give birth in the tub, but I pretty much spent my entire labor riding out my contractions with five strategically-placed whirlpool tub jets.
And it worked out great. I didn’t have a birth plan, but I knew I wanted to go with the flow of what my body was telling me during labor. When I started feeling exhausted and doubtful of my ability to go on at only 5 cm dilated, I knew I had to try something different.
My care provider suggested trying the tub, and although I was skeptical at first, into the tub I plopped. I found that the combination of the buoyancy in the water relieved the pressure I felt when sitting in a bed through my contractions. Add in the whirlpool jets and I had the perfect combination to get me through back labor. With the sound of the running water and the lights dimmed, I was able to finally relax enough to allow my labor to progress, as I had imagined.
My nurse came in periodically to check on me, using a hand-held Doppler to monitor the baby’s heart rate and I spent time climbing in and out of the tub to refresh the water, cool down, or change positions. (On a practical note, I have to say it was kind of nice to be able to rinse away the pleasantries of labor rather than sit on those pads in a hospital bed.)
More hospitals are equipping their labor and delivery units with whirlpool tubs and studies have found that laboring in a tub offers women more control and less medical intervention and complications during delivery.
If you want to learn if a tub labor might be right for you, I encourage you to talk to your care provider to discuss the option. For some women, it’s a cheap, easy, and effective way to manage pain during labor.
Now if only they would have let me take that tub home…
Would you consider laboring in the tub? What about giving birth in a tub?
Image via Flickr: homejobsbymom