A midwife's adventures...
A midwife's adventures...
A bath is a wonderful way to relax and bring you comfort during labour and creating the right environment is so important. Here's a few top tips on how to turn your bath into a comforting, relaxing experience and help your birth hormones to flow.
Be sure to watch the video in No 8 with the sound on... I relax just watching Jenny!
TIP 1. Bath Temperature. Warm not hot!
The bath should be warm enough to relax and soothe you but not too hot. Your birthing muscles during labour create a lot of heat so soaking in a hot bath is likely to make you more uncomfortable, dehydrate and exhaust you. In addition, your babies environment in your womb is approximately 1 degree hotter than you are and if they get too hot, their heart rate may rise to compensate.
TIP 2. Support your head and neck
Add a bath pillow or a rolled up towel to support your neck and head so you can relax deeply
TIP 3. Keep the lights low to let your birthing hormones flow
Ever wonder why we are more likely to labour at night? It's the effect of melatonin our hormone that helps us sleep at night when its dark. Melatonin also works in synergy with oxytocin so switch the lights off and light a few candles. If you are labouring during the day, then place a cool cloth over your eyes or use an eye mask.
TIP 4. Use essential oils
Use a relaxing aromatherapy blend to inhale or use an oil burner. Essential oils for your bath need to be blended first in a base oil such as grapeseed, coconut, jojoba etc and swirled into the running bath water first. Avoid using in the bath if your membranes have released and you are leaking amniotic fluid.
Please consult a qualified pregnancy aromatherapist to ensure that the oils are suitable for you and make sure you have someone to help you out as the bath can get slippy!
TIP 5. Keep hydrated
Have a glass of iced water or juice to hand to sip to keep you cool and hydrated.
TIP 6. Display your affirmations or visualisations
Put pictures or affirmations in a frame or laminate them so they won't get wet.
TIP 7. Play some background music
Music can really help reduce labour discomfort. Choose your favourite relaxation music or lovey-dovey music or surround yourself with atmospheric sounds of nature (rain forest storms are my favourite). You may want to listen to your hypnobirthing tracks or simply rest back and enjoy the peaceful silence.
TIP 8. Get your birth partner to trickle the warm water over your abdomen during surges
This sounds so insanely simple I know but it truly makes a magical difference. Each time you have a surge (contraction) get your birth partner to gently trickle the bath water over your abdomen. Focus on your breath and allow your breath to be full, slow and deep. Allow your abdomen to rise with each breath as if you were filling a balloon. So simple yet really powerful!!
TIP 9. Keep conversations to a minimal.
Think peaceful, calm and tranquil! Birth partners may at times want to offer reassuring words of encouragement, support, praise or expressions of love. These should be said in a way like they were whispering a secret. Otherwise it is best not to disturb.
TIP 10. Repeat as necessary
Women will often have several baths during labour, especially if it is your first baby. You might want to alternate baths with eating nourishing food, walks in nature, rest and sleep or watching funny movies.
It's useful to have a few practice runs with your partner in advance so they can prepare your bath for you on your birthing day.
Did a bath help your labour? Share your top tips
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