safe motherhood



Warm water can give a lot of pain relief, whether in the form of a bath or shower. Lying immersed in a warm bath helps many women relax and cope well with their contractions. When you relax you 'let go' and your body takes over, allowing labour to progress.

If you have a shower cabinet, you could try sitting on a plastic chair or an upturned plastic bucket and letting warm water flow over your bump or down your back. When your back is aching, it can help to get someone else to direct a strong jet of warm water at the spot that seems most painful.

And if you block the overflow of your bath with something like Blu-Tack, you can get a greater depth of water in there. To kneel in the bath on all fours, with warm water surrounding your bump can be very soothing.

Birthing pool

You can hire a birthing pool if you are planning to have your baby at home. If you are going to be in hospital, ask ahead whether a birthing pool will available (see Types of birth/water birth).

Many women use the birthing pool for the first stage of labour and get out for the second stage to give birth. (See Types of birth/water birth) The buoyancy of the water supports you and lets you move freely. It's easier for you to change your position in water and just go with the flow. If you have any kind of physical disability, this can be really helpful.

Some studies have shown that women labouring in a pool are less likely to need other forms of pain relief. Other studies have shown that using a pool can reduce the need for instrumental deliveries, and cut the length of the second stage of labour.