Many women are surprised to learn that they can shower during labor. A warm bath or shower can help relax and soothe you between contractions. It can also help ease any pain you might be feeling. Interestingly, the rain of water from a showerhead can stimulate your nipples and increase contractions.
Let’s take a deep dive:
Is it safe to shower during labor?
There are a lot of myths about when and how to shower during labor. Here are the facts:
- It’s perfectly safe to shower during labor
- You don’t need to wait for any special timing (but showering in between contractions is more comfortable)
- You don’t need to take any specific precautions like avoiding cold water or baths.
You can shower whenever you want, and it’ll help you feel more relaxed and prepared for labor.
How long can you shower during labor?
Some women prefer to take very short showers, while others may prefer a long soak in the tub. You can shower for as long as you want. However, if you are planning on a longer shower, make sure you have a chair beside you in case a contraction happens and you need to sit down.
I recommend taking note of the time gap between your contractions and showering in half the time it takes for the next contraction to occur. This ensures you’re finished and dressed way before the next contraction happens.
What are the benefits of showering during labor?
Labor is a physical and emotional experience. Showering during labor is a personal choice that many women make. Some benefits of showering during labor include:
It’s refreshing to wash off some of the sweat and body odor that can build up after a few hours of intense contractions.
Use a relaxing body wash to melt away your stress:
Having a nice warm shower can help relieve muscle ache and tension. It can also soothe your abdominal muscles after help relax your body.
Many women feel an increase in anxiety during labor, which can be intensified by the smells of labor and the length of time they are in labor. There is nothing like a warm shower to relieve your anxiety and calm you down.
Hypnobirthing is a technique that helps make labor and delivery calmer and less painful. You can learn hypnobirthing online. Are hypnobirthing classes worth it?
Labor is an intense and demanding experience, which is why many women naturally seek relief by taking a shower or bath during their labor. Showers can help to cleanse the body and mind, and can even energize you.
A shorter labor
When you face the shower and the warm water rains on your nipples, it can stimulate oxytocin, intensifying your contractions and potentially leading to a shorter labor.
What are the risks of showering during labor?
The main risk with showering during labor is that you might have a sudden intense contraction in the shower. This might cause you to lose your balance and fall.
There is also a small possiblity that if you had a shower when your cervix was almost fully dilated, you could give birth in the shower. This is more likely if it’s your second or third pregnancy.
The ways to mitigate these risks are to make sure you shower earlier during labor, when there is enough time gap between contractions for you to jump in and out of a shower. If you have already been in labor for a few hours, get the midwife to check your cervix dilation first before deciding if it’s worth risking a shower.
What to wear in the shower during labor
You don’t need to wear anything in the shower, even when you’re in labor. The midwife allows you to have a shower by yourself. If you are worried and would like someone with you, to preserve your dignity, you can wear clothing that can dry quickly and won’t weigh you down like a tankini or sarong.
Further reading:What should you wear during a water birth?
To wrap up
Showering while in labor is a personal preference for many women. There is no evidence that showering will speed up the labor process, but it can be a relaxing and refreshing experience. If you are considering showering during labor, be sure to speak with your doctor or midwife to get their opinion and make sure that it is safe for you to do so.
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