There is not a much better way to help relax a mama than the power of a hot shower for labor. As a doula, I have found that the shower relieves low back discomfort and helps mother’s really relax during the early to active phase of labor. Many labors progress quite rapidly when mother can feel relief, relax and just breathe!
Here are some suggestions when in a hospital & wanting to shower.
- If there is an IV port, ask the nurse to please cover in plastic. This is one way to protect it from the water.
- If there is a shower stool or bench, cover with a clean towel in case mama wants to sit a minute. Also, bring a birth ball in the shower if comfortable for mama. Remember not to place over the drain, you will flood the bathroom!
- Have mama’s toiletries available in case she wants them while in the shower.
- Have plenty of towels ready in the bathroom for dry off. When she is ready to get out you don’t want her to have to wait for you to find towels.
- Get the water running first. In my experience the hospital water has to be turned all the way to hot in order for it to feel good. Stepping into a shower with the water running is a whole lot better than having it spray cold on you!
- If mama is listening to music you can move into the bathroom for her.
- Always have mama’s water cup with a straw near by within easy reach. Remember Coconut Water is great hydration for labor. Remind her that it will be in the shower with her.
- Turn off bright lights. If you need extra light turn up the lights in the room and leave the door cracked or use battery operated candles.
- Unless mama wants to be alone, someone should be close by holding the water over her back or let her know that you’ll be just outside of the door if she needs you and leave her ALONE. She may want some private laboring time.
- While she is in the shower check her water cup periodically and get her clothes ready for when she gets out. This might include grabbing a fresh gown if she is wearing one.
- When she is done with the shower, be ready to help assist her in getting out, getting dry, getting dressed and navigating back to the room. Don’t forget to bring the music back to the main room too.
Important points for shower power!
Warm water on your back can help ease labor pain, especially back labor. If a hand shower is available, partners and/or doulas can direct that water right where relief is greatest. Warm water on your front can provide nipple stimulation that can increase contractions. The white noise of a running shower can help ease relaxation.
So, don’t under estimate the Power of the Shower!!