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Hydrotherapy pain relief options for childbirth
Hydrotherapy uses water as a form of pain relief during labour, and is also a delivery option during childbirth. The water in birth pools is typically kept comfortably warm at about 37 degrees C, however this can vary. Hydrotherapy can be used on it’s own (however is not as effective as other pain relief options), or in conjunction with other methods of pain relief, allowing for a level of comfort that few other methods can provide.
As such, many midwives describe the use of a large warm bath as their 'natural epidural', and use it to help calm, relax and soothe the woman in labour, before opting for pain relieving medications. Hydrotherapy can be the answer to assisting a woman struggling with a long and difficult labour, helping her to progress without resorting to an oxytocin drip, and can help women achieve comfortable positions in the bath. Pregnant women with limb or hip disabilities have used the bath to achieve a natural active birth.
Some women believe so deeply in the power of hydrotherapy that they choose to spend much of their labour immersed in water, and some even deliver their babies there. While hydrotherapy is fine for almost any pregnant woman, delivering underwater may not be. If you wish to have a water birth speak to your practitioner to ensure there are no medical objections. If you get the green light, do some research on how and where to take your delivery dip. While there are still some concerns about the safety of water births, they are regularly practiced throughout the world and are approved of by a number of different health authorities.