Category Archives: Physical Support

Watsu in Pregnancy


Watsu is terrifically relaxing and can benefit pregnant women. Jeff Bisdee is the only Watsu practitioner in Pittsburgh. Watsu is water Shiatsu. It is a relaxing type of massage that takes place in a warm water pool. Floating takes stress off a pregnant body and the gentle floating and gliding in the water is very relaxing. During a Watsu, both the practitioner and the mother wear bathing suits.

Watsu therapy is a combination of water therapy and Shiatsu. Sometimes called the “water breath dance”, Watsu therapy involves a focus on deep breathing while the client’s body is moved gently through warm water by the therapist. Watsu uses many of the stretching techniques of Shiatsu. Watsu also borrows from Acupressure, applying pressure with the fingertips to restore the free flow of life-energy.

During a Watsu session, the therapist will move the client through the water, gently supporting the spine and stretching the joints of the body. The water in which Watsu is performed is 96 degrees or slightly warmer, to encourage muscle relaxation and improve circulation.

It has been shown that swimming helps to orient the baby correctly in the birth canal. Watsu, like swimming, can be helpful for aligning the mother’s and baby’s bodies. And, it is fun! Take a look at Jeff’s Watsu website:

I have had several Watsus and if I were pregnant, I would want several of them, especially during the last trimester. Watsu is a relaxing and meditative experience. Contact Jeff Bisdee for a Watsu of your own.

Cupcake Inductions

I watched this Youtube video of a news report about a bakery that is doing a booming induction business. This bakery makes a lemon drop cupcake that has had 19 women past their due dates go into labor. I find that fascinating. The bakery isn’t in Pittsburgh, I think it is in Fayetteville Arkansas, but it is an interesting phenomenon. OBs in the area are recommending the cupcakes to start labor. Most women who are past their due date will try almost anything (especially something as tasty as cupcake) to get their labor started without pitocin.

But does a cupcake have magic induction powers? Is it the lemon zest? Or is it the power of belief that keeps working the more success there is with the cupcakes? Either way, it sounds like a tasty way to start labor.

Support Your Local Perineum

Here is a bumper sticker I would love to have. I just spoke to a doctor today who teaches residents who are becoming family practice doctors. I asked him if he taught his residents about supporting the perineum during crowning. He said he did! He agreed that support of the perineum can be beautiful. Now I need to get this made into a real bumper sticker.

On Being Numb

The epidural rate in American hospitals is very high. All birthing women need to  figure out their own feelings about epidurals. Moms need to decide the parameters for whether they are willing to accept an epidural or not. My book, Doulas’ Guide to Birthing Your Way, goes into great detail about how an epidural changes labor. It can help a mom decide the epidural question for herself. Moms have reviewed the book and called it fair and understanding about epidurals. There is no single answer to this question that is right for every mother and every labor.

Keep in mind that sometimes an epidural does not do exactly what the mom is hoping it will do. Sometimes she can be so numb that she can’t feel the urge to push strongly enough to birth her baby. In those cases, she will need an instrument (vacuum or forceps) delivery or cesarean birth. Sometimes, being numb is the last thing you want during your labor.