Laboring in a tub?

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Laboring in a tub?

I found out that the hospital I will be delivering at has one room with a tub in it(all of the others have showers). I delivered my other two kids at this hospital and the tub was never mentioned to me (even though they knew I was aiming for as few interventions as possible). I was very excited to hear this as I think it would've felt great to be in water during labor with DD. Anyway, my L&D RN friend said that laboring in water is "not as fun as everyone says it is" and said it is messy and not really that great (I don't think she's ever been in the tub herself as she had epidurals when she delivered). So that made me doubtful that it would help me achieve a med-free birth.

How many of you felt like laboring in a tub helped during labor? Is it overrated? From reading lodges, it sounds like the majority of women who are allowed to get in water during labor find it helpful.

LMCH's picture
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I spent an hour in the tub (of the two hours I was at the birth center before my son was born). I loved it (I am partial to water in general too). Here are the reasons I though it felt good:

The warmth assisted with relaxing me. The water takes some of the weight/gravity off your belly. When we had the jacuzzi jets on, the noise and the movement of the water on me helped distract me from the contractions, as it is additional sensory input to overload your system.

It wasn't messy at all. I had some bloody show that I noticed when I peed before getting in and when I got out of the tub to pee...but there was nothing in the water (or nothing that was enough to notice). I spent most of the time in side sitting or cross legged sitting in the tub, b/c that is what was comfortable. I tried reclining against the jets and I tried hands and knees or on my knees over the side of the tub...none of those felt good...but each person and each birth will have different positions that feel good/don't feel good.

I will say that when I tried certain positions where my belly was out of the water, it did not feel good...when my belly was submerged, it felt the best!

eta: the midwives at the birth center where I birthed call the jacuzzi tubs the natural epidural Lol While it didn't get rid of the pain as much as I suspect an epi would, it took the edge off.

TiggersMommy's picture
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I got into the water when I was about 5cm (not precisely sure as my MW was more or less just going by her feel of the situation) and I didn't get out until I carried my DD out with me a few hours later. I looooooved the water. I was beginning to doubt myself before I got in and the water helped sooooo much. The warmth and support of the water really helped me to relax. I spent all but the last bit of the pushing phase on my knees with my arms over the side of the tub. DH was fanning me and the MW kept a steady stream of icy towels coming to place on my back and face. I flipped over and put my back against one wall and my feet against the other for the last few pushes. Every woman will do it differently and the size and shape of the tube will greatly effect how you feel most comfortable. It wasn't messy at all until DD was out and even if it had been I wouldn't have noticed. The tub was dark red with blood after she was out but that isn't always the case. My MW later said it was more than likely due to my tear more than anything. Still, the "mess" didn't dampen the spirit in the room one bit and didn't keep DH out of the tub (he might just be weird). I got up and rinsed off in the shower maybe an hour after DD was born but I probably would have wanted to do that even if I'd given birth to her out of the water. I'm really looking forward to using the tub again for my next birth. Every woman should have the option!

jolly11sd's picture
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I was in and out of the tub through my entire labor though I did not deliver in the tub. It was never messy, even after ROM. I loved the warmth and weightless of it, as well as the relaxing effect it had. I tried taking a shower 2 different times and didn't find that nearly as relaxing as the tub. We have a large spa tub in our bathroom so I could submerge pretty well but next time I would love to have a birthing tub to get in even farther as I could see that adding to the experience.

MrsMangoBabe's picture
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I have labored in tubs in both of my births. I have only ever used standard size bath tubs, though I think a larger tub would be heavenly because of the freedom to get into other positions--in a standard tub you're pretty limited because being upright is more comfortable, but if it's not deep enough to cover your belly it's not going to help much. Lying on your side in the water can be nice for a while, though. I still found being in the water helpful, though. However, it was quite difficult to get comfortable in the tub in my 1st birth (on pitocin) because of the IV and the fetal monitors...I could get in, because the hospital had the right equipment for it, but all that stuff got in my way a bit...

Chimmy's picture
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She couldn't be more wrong if you ask me! It was not messy at all, I also found it to be very comforting as I went through transition. I am very much planning to use the birth pool again with this baby Smile

renee24's picture
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considering she's never used it and probably only have seen others use it I can see how she's formed her opinions. She gets the aftermath. Maybe it is messy, but I doubt mom would notice with her fresh born baby in her arms. I've seen pics and vids from water births and I don't see them being messy or uncomfy. As for me personally, I sat in a tub at the start of my first labor and it did nothing for me, but I also know from others I'm one of the minority. It never hurts to try.

gardenbug's picture
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I think you'll only find out at the time what you want to do. Sometimes water is the ONLY way, other times it doesn't seem right. Each time is different.

DD had water births for all three of her deliveries. Twice she used their hot tub, once a birthing pool because the outdoor weather was too cold for the hot tub. She is particularly fond of the depth of the water and the larger area which their hot tub provides. There was no mess at all the first time, only a bit more for the others.

Her births are very quick and she is not in the water for terribly long...except for the relaxing time afterwards when the family gathers around to meet the new arrival.

Also, just because there is a tub at the hospital does not mean it will be available at the time you need it! You may want to check it out first to see how large and deep it is.

Last seen: 4 years 2 days ago
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Thanks, ladies!
They won't actually let me deliver in it or get in if my membranes are ruptured, so I really can't see how it would be so messy. I just would love to have it available. Apparently if we request it, it will probably be available because the nurses have a habit of not putting people in that room (they don't like to clean it).
I have a deep whirlpool tub at home that I can use until I go to the hospital. But if I overestimate how far I've progressed and I end up at the hospital only at 5 or 6 cm, I would love to have the option of getting in the water.
I appreciate your input! I just couldn't imagine that it doesn't at least help a little.

Mom2ThreeKiddos's picture
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Well I have no personal experience, but every natural birth video I see has a women in the tub. There must be a reason for that. LOL

mommys's picture
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My hospital had tubs in all the rooms.

I LOVED it! I got in around the time transition started - it felt so relaxing. It was wonderful and I plan to labor in water again this time. My hospital also had a no-birth in tub policy, but great for laboring and the nurses were actually encouraging. Not sure why they say "messy". I was just wet afterwards and needed a new gown.

girl0007's picture
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While I was in labour with DD I called the midwife and she suggested getting in my tub to help with the contractions. So I did. It was very uncomfortable but I think it is because my tub isn't really very well built for that sort of thing. It is just a standard tub. I didn't feel like I had enough room and I couldn't get comfortable. I have since bought a birthing tub that is inflatable and would like to try that out this time. I bet if it were a soaker tub or a Jacuzzi then it would have been nicer. I don't think it hurts try. If you don't like it you can always get out.

ange84's picture
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A friend of mine laboured in the tub (not allowed at our hospital as it doesn't meet safety standards, but the midwife did it on the sly)and thats how she progressed best. If the doctor hadn't come in to throw his weight about and demand she get out of the tub and get up and be monitored she may have avoided her c-section because she stopped progressing again once out of the tub, yet dilated a few cm's while in there. I wasn't given a chance for a tub, but the shower to wash myself before the c-section felt awesome, I was a bit cranky they hurried me up.

ekcanada's picture
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No experience with the tub but I progressed 6 cm in 45 minutes in the shower! Great for back labour and I slept between contractions (slept or was in the "zone" - to this day I still don't know).

shiregirl's picture
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I labored in one of those big birth tubs that my midwife lent us, but by the time I got in I was about in transition, so it was a rough period of labor. I was throwing up and such (not into the water, but my husband was standing by with a trash can) I am not sure if it would have been worse out of the water, but it definitely didn't make me feel uncomfortable. I was able to kind of find some floating positions in there that seemed to help. I relax in hot baths all the time, so I felt it would help relax me, and it just may have. I didn't find it messy, either. This time we have a new house, and our bathroom has a garden tub. Not big enough to float, but definitely big enough to labor in. It's comfy too. I love that bath tub, and am looking forward to doing some laboring in there. I also labored some in the shower, which was really nice. Very soothing. Anything to help relax you! I say go for it!

boilermaker's picture
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I had two babies in tubs and L.O.V.E.D. it. I labored in water with my first two births and then delivered in water for my second two births.....

It was actually one of the reasons that I chose a homebirth. Hospital policies near me where the same as yours -- no getting in w ruptured membranes and no pushing in the I decided to have a homebirth.

The water was my best friend. I labored in my normal sized tub and delivered in birth pools. Not at all messy. Very comfy.

Here's a pic. Does that water look icky to you?

Two of our older kids got in post-birth bc the water was so clean Smile

Last seen: 4 years 2 days ago
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Thanks, ladies! I guess I just needed some reassurance that I wasn't crazy for wanting the tub available if possible. I just can't see how it can hurt to try it, KWIM? Thanks for the input!

joysiloo's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
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The midwife that gave me the tour of the birthing center where I'll be delivering said that 95% of clients chose to pass at least some of their labor in the tub, but only 30% deliver in the tub. So it's gotta work for a big percentage. Smile I plan on being in the tub as long as possible, hopefully having a water birth.

pico83 (not verified)

I haven't tried it, but I've always wanted to. The hosp at which I'll be delivering this time has a few rooms with tubs, but people get them on a first come basis, so I don't know if I'll be one of the lucky ones. I've heard it's amazing. (No water birth at my hosp, just labor in the tub)