Showers are amazing. If I’m having a bad day, where things are slow to start, or when I just need a reset, I find that taking a shower and brushing my teeth (again) often puts me on the right back on track. Something about the flowing water is both soothing and energizing. And feeling clean doesn’t hurt either!
Thankfully, showers can have a similar effect on labor. Both the experiences of my clients, and studies suggest that getting in the shower can help women cope with contractions. The sensation of water running over you, as well as the steam and sounds, can distract you from the feelings of labor, and have actually been shown to reduce the amount of pain that women report in active labor.
I like to recommend taking a shower for a portion of labor for a few of reasons:
Showers can be an excellent time for bonding. If you are wondering how your partner/spouse can help with labor, and they’re feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility- this can be their job.
This gives them a role in helping you, which may calm you both. It also gives a chance for you to connect with one another, an important part of labor that can encourage helpful hormones such as oxytocin.
It helps to let go of any previous feelings, and if you’re scared of pain or nervous about what’s coming next then we can talk about that too. This shower strategy session always feels like such an intimate and powerful experience to have with my clients, and I’ll never forget those moments as their labor doula.
Whether you plan to avoid all pain medications, or you’re thinking about how to manage labor before your epidural, I absolutely recommend putting this tool in your bag.