Today is #WorldWaterDay which was created by the United Nations to bring awareness to the global crisis of access to safe drinking water, particularly those most vulnerable are marginalized groups like women, children, indigenous peoples, disabled people, and refugees. In 2010, the UN recognized “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.” The 2019 theme is “Leaving no one behind.”
Today we’d like to share our top water-related tips for pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. For every share on Facebook or Instagram of our blog we’ll donate $1 to Water for People.
Water is life and that is true even more true during pregnancy when access to clean water means a healthier pregnancy.
Access during labor means an environment with less risk for easily avoidable infections (hello, hand washing!) and preventable deaths. Availability of clean drinking water for new mothers and babies means healthier families who grow and thrive.
This article in the Huffington Post explains many of the direct and indirect consequences to lack of clean water to women and girls and how that relates to maternal health.
Thankfully, our clients in DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland who are hiring a doula, overnight newborn care, or breastfeeding specialist aren’t likely to be personally impacted by lack of clean water access in their homes, birth center, or the hospital where they deliver. So today we’re giving our 4 Doula Tips about water for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum!
You’re up at night Googling “What does a contraction feel like?” and you’re not sure if it’s time to call your doula. You remember she insisted you CALL (not text or email) if ANYTHING was potentially happening, so you call. She listens intently to what you’re feeling, and agrees, it could be labor, or it could be Braxton-Hicks, aka “practice contractions.” She suggests trying these three steps and to call her back, reassuring her that “real labor” contractions will get longer, stronger, and closer together. If this doesn’t happen after trying these three steps, it’s probably safe to say your body is just practicing.
You’ve seen tv and movies of childbirth. From Katherine Heigl’s screams in Knocked Up to Melissa McCarthy banging on a drum during The Back Up Plan to basically everyone in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, all of them have one thing in common, the women are freaking out.
But at Doulas of Capitol Hill we’ve seen LOTS of births (probably more than the filmmakers in Hollywood) and shake our heads. It is possible to find real comfort beyond the epidural (which we also fully support!)
We know, and studies agree, that laboring and pushing in the water has a lot of advantages. That’s why when you search “waterbirth in DC” or “waterbirth in Northern Virginia” you may see our name come up; we rent birth tubs for people to use at home.
We also support clients who are delivering at hospitals and birth centers where laboring or delivery in the water is an option. We’re especially looking forward to the return of tubs at George Washington University Hospital!
It’s that moment that everyone fears will happen at the worst time, like when you’re in your bosses office! People make jokes about it, too, which makes it even more nerve wracking. One mom told us about her own experience with a person working at Wal-Mart who thought they’d be funny and followed the mom around the store with a mop “just in case” her water broke while she was shopping. She was only 7 months pregnant! Some people just have no idea!
If staying hydrated during pregnancy is important then drinking enough water during breastfeeding is equally important. While breast milk works on a supply and demand system, meaning the more you remove the more that it signals your body to make, dehydration can be a huge factor for some people in low milk supply. If you’re wondering “how much water should I drink while I’m breastfeeding?” Here’s what Kelly Mom (a fantastic resource for breastfeeding) had to say: