Endorphins are a natural morphinelike substances produced by the body in reaction to stress and pain. It is a very powerful form of pain relief that alters the woman's conciousness and helps her to cope with her labour. It is this same substance that causes her to become suddenly 'alert,' awake and fully aware when her baby is born. For anyone who is lucky enough to have witnessed this phenomena can see that the labouring woman will go into "her own space" or level of consciousness as she connects with her baby and copes with the pain of labour. She may not be aware of time or even people in the room - she does not mean any offence to the ones she loves :-) it is her body's wonderful endorphins helping her through this intense experience.
The benefits of water: Actually that goes for anyone who has pain in their body, we all the know the effect water has on us for pain :-)
- It supports your uterus and your back. It reduces anxiety and helps relax you.
- It is said to reduce the risk of perineal tears
- Reduce the need for pain relief
- The baby adapts gently to life outside the womb
- Better for baby if mum has less pharmacological pain relief
- Low risk. In other words, there have been no concerns regarding you or baby during the pregnancy, you must be more than 36 weeks pregnant and your baby is positioned in the womb with his/her head down in the pelvis (not breech). Although some midwives do carry out breech waterbirths.
- You are in established labour. Established labour is where your neck of the womb or cervix is at least 4cms dilated. Getting in the water too early in labour, may slow it down, hence why we do not like you getting in too early.
- If your waters have broken, the fluid must be clear. Any colour other than clear, means your baby has opened his/her bowels in your womb, this means we need to monitor your baby more closely.
- You have not already had pain relief that makes you sleepy eg. pethidine.