Deaconess Labor and Delivery Gets an Upgrade

By Tine Reese

November 10, 2010

I stopped by Deaconess Medical Center’s open house yesterday to check out the recent improvements they’ve made to the labor and delivery rooms in the Women’s and Children’s center. Laboring moms, you will be happy to know that each room now has a deep-soaker, jetted bathtub with handles all around. You can cover your entire belly with warm, flowing water and the larger tubs allow for easier side-lying, squatting or other labor positions moms might want to assume. As many of us know, laboring in water is one of the best ways to ease the intensity of contractions.

Deaconess Medical Center labor and delivery bathtub

To be clear, these new bathtubs at Deaconess are not “birthing pools/tubs” intended to allow moms to have a water birth. Bathtubs do not always allow care providers (nurses, doctors, midwives) proper access to the mom and baby in case of an emergency. They are, however, a phenomenal tool for laboring moms—especially those who are attempting to avoid the use of pain medications and epidurals.

Enhanced Relaxation

Childbirth educator and birth doula Brenda Lane reports, “The soothing effects of water during labor is often compared to the relaxation of getting a narcotic, without the unwanted side effects of medication. Rather than responding to contractions with tension, mothers find that water provides a deep sense of relaxation that can will help them conserve energy.”

“Another benefit is that the more relaxed her body is, the more effectively her uterus can work to dilate her cervix and help her baby descend. In some cases when the mother stays more relaxed, getting into a tub may actually speed up the course of labor!”

Reduces Back Pain

If a woman is experiencing back pain during labor, a soak in the tub is often effective at relieving that pain. The buoyancy of the water takes the weight of the baby off the mother’s spine and can help turn a posterior (sunny side up) baby to a more favorable position for birth—especially when combined with the hands and knees position.

What the Nurses Are Saying

The Labor & Delivery Nurses on hand at Deaconess yesterday were ecstatic about the new tubs and believe they will greatly enhance the experience of patients trying to avoid pain medication. One nurse said, “We love helping moms who are trying to have a natural birth and this will make it so much better for them.”

Deaconess Medical Center labor and delivery room

In addition to the new bathtubs, the labor and delivery rooms at Deaconess also got a decorative face lift, making them feel more like home and less like a hospital. Most of the medical equipment is tucked away in cabinets and the warm glow from the wood floors and non-florescent light fixtures provides women a more comfortable space in which to give birth

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