Although pelvic steaming is contraindicated during pregnancy, a very mild modified version of steaming can be used safely for labor preparation starting at 38 or 39 gestational weeks under the supervision of a trained practitioner or with self-study. Under special conditions steaming might start as early as 37 weeks but it should never be done earlier.
If desired, steaming can be done in early labor, both before or after the water breaks. Steam during active labor may possibly advance labor, soften the cervix, protect skin from perineum tears, encourage contractions and manage pain.
Pelvic steaming for labor preparation and during active labor may be helpful with the following concerns.
-Group B Strep
-Body Pains and Aches (hips, back, legs)
-Pain Management During Active Labor
-Protection from Perineum Tears
Medical interventions for labor may include induction, membrane stripping, cesarean, forceps, epidural, pitocin, catheterization, episiotomy, vacuum extraction, scheduled cesarean (birth through abdominal surgery), tubal ligation at time of surgery (with or without prior consent).
Though all of these interventions might be useful in cases of emergency, steaming for labor preparation may help to prevent the need for any of these medical interventions (and their resulting side-effects).
Steam Therapists have a five week Labor Prep Steam Program used to gently prepare the body for labor in the final weeks of pregnancy. Steaming for labor prep requires a modified steam setup and should only be done under the care of a trained steam practitioner after screening to make sure that steaming is not contraindicated. Client should meet with practitioner weekly starting at 36 weeks although actual steaming will start a few weeks later.
Alternatively, a client can do self-study to guide themselves through the five week program.
Vaginal Steaming for Labor Preparation
If planning to make your own herbs and steam setup, the following courses will also be helpful:
Steam Facilitation Basics
Easy-to-Make Vaginal Steam Herb Formulas.