Care at Health Foundations Birth Center is evidence-based, holistic, and founded on the premise that women’s bodies know how to give birth and should be enabled to do so without needless intervention. We have many different options for comfort measures during labor and birth. Each of our birth assistants and midwives are knowledge in the use of these tools that can greatly impact the sensations of labor. It is important to know that these things are available at all times at our birth center.
Eating / Drinking During Labor
It is essential in labor to keep your body nourished and hydrated. During early labor it is a good idea to have a protein rich meal to enable your body with sustained energy. Throughout active labor it is good to have bites of easily digested foods. This helps maintain your strength and energy. We strongly encourage women to drink during the entirety of labor. Taking a sip every 15-30 minutes is ideal. Our birth center has a kitchen area that is available for use by our families that deliver here. It is equipped with dishes, an ice/water machine and a microwave. Each suite has a small refrigerator for your personal use. We also have coffee available for dads to help keep him up!
Continuous Labor Support
In addition to the care provided by our midwives and nurses, continuous one-to-one emotional support provided by support personnel, such as a doula, is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor. Benefits found in randomized trials include shortened labor, decreased need for analgesia, fewer operative deliveries, and a greater satisfaction with the experience of labor. Health Foundations has a doula intern program that offers families the option of having a doula at their birth at a reduced cost.
Water Birth / Laboring in the Water
Each of the birth suites at Health Foundations has a large tub for use during labor and birth. Warm water during labor and birth greatly reduces discomfort and also promotes relaxation. It is know as the “Midwife’s Epidural”. Along with pain relief, water also provides a gentle space for the baby to be delivered in, replicating the warmth of the mother’s womb, creating an easier transition when born. It can also help the perineal tissues stretch, resulting in lower incidence of tearing.
A “birthing sling,” is a soft ribbon of cloth that dangles from an ‘O’ ring in the ceiling of a delivery room. Capable of holding more than 500 pounds, the sling supports the expecting mother in an upright position during labor. There are many different positions that you can get into in the sling. These positions can help make contractions more effective and also help the baby into a good position.
Health Foundations has a TENS Unit available for use during labor. The use of this can cut the discomfort of contractions in half. It can also be a wonderful option for women experiencing back labor. Four electrodes go on to your back and they are connected to a small handheld device. The frequency is as high or low as you would like. During a contraction, there is a “Boost” button that increases the sensation. The electrical pulses prevent pain signals from reaching your brain and also stimulate your body to release pain-relieving endorphins. You can use the TENS Unit at any time in labor, just not in the water.
A TENS unit is a handheld machine, connected by wires to electrodes that stick to the skin on your back. TENS works by sending electrical nerve stimulation through these electrodes; it doesn't take away the sensation of contractions, but essentially interrupts the pain signals your brain is receiving, possibly reducing your awareness of them or producing endorphins that allow you to cope better
Health Foundations offers Nitrous Oxide during labor, which is a safe pain relief option that many women find helpful. It can be used during any stage of labor. You can use it anywhere in the birth room, including the tub. Nitrous does not “take the pain away” but actually alters your perception of the pain and can help reduce anxiety. The effects are felt immediately and also dissipate within a few minutes of fresh oxygen. It does not inhibit labor progression in any way.
A birth stool helps you into a physiological upright posture during labor and birth. They can help provide balance and support to laboring women. Different positions and various movements can help with progress and comfort during labor. The benefit of gravity is helpful in labor and the stool allows for that while giving your feet and legs a rest! We have two different types of birth stools available at our center.
Sterile Water Injections
If a laboring woman is experiencing back labor, sterile water injections can ease the pain instantly. They are quick, easy, safe and effective. Sterile water is injected just under the skin surface at four points over the lower back. The injections cause an intense stinging sensation that lasts for 30 - 90 seconds. If it works to relieve back pain in labor, the relief will be felt within 2 minutes. The pain relief generally lasts 2-3 hours.
There is a large list of the many benefits essential oils can have in labor. We have an essential oil kit available for use in each of our birth rooms. Oils can be used to reduce nausea, help with stalled labors, calm and focus the mother, increase energy, relieve pain and more.
We are thrilled to be able to offer all of these options at Health Foundations Birth Center and invite you to contact us for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center to learn more. The remarkable physiological and psychological benefits that these comfort measures provide to mom and baby make birth a truly unique option for you and your family.