Advice around the physical and emotional impact after giving birth, including tender breasts, stitches and postnatal emotions
The main advantage of being immersed in warm water is that it has a relaxing effect on your muscles. This helps relieve pain and ease tension throughout your body, and can reduce the need for pain-relieving drugs.
Another advantage is the support of the water – it gives you the freedom to experiment with different positions. There’s also less risk of tearing because your tissues will be softer and stretchier.
For it to be effective, you will need to be immersed up to the level of your nipples, with your abdomen under the water, which needs to be kept at a constant body temperature. You can get in and out of the water whenever you want – keep a warm dressing gown handy.
If you’re using a birthing pool in hospital or at home, a midwife will regularly check the baby’s heartbeat using a handheld Doppler.
Although it can be soothing, some women find that the water doesn’t give as much pain relief as they were expecting and need medication to help them cope. So be prepared for a possible change of plans to avoid being too disappointed.
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