I am not a very good pregnant person. This is my second time around and I am done. Not even 30 weeks in and I want this baby out (but of course, not really, cause it’s way too early.) But for real, the heartburn, shortness of breath, and sleepless nights are just getting to me. I think these things are only made worse by being in a wheelchair. The only thing that’s a little better about this time is that I have come up with a slew of ways to cope with these pregnancy discomforts. I eat tiny meals. I lay down on my side when I can’t breathe. I visit the chiropractor. I’ll try just about anything.
So when I was given the opportunity to try floating, I figured, “why not?” If nothing else, it would give me some peace and quiet by myself for an hour, which sounds great in theory, but to be honest — the thought kind of freaked me out a little. I’m not typically good at doing nothing in darkness and silence. I even listen to stuff to fall asleep every night because I have the hardest time shutting off my brain.
On a Wednesday morning, I arrived at Float Milwaukee. I was immediately greeted by the calm environment and given a tour of the facilities. Then I was shown to a room that contained a shower, a bench, and a pod about a foot full of extremely salty water.
Then I was left to it. I took a shower, per instructions, and got in the float pod when the automated voice told me my session was beginning. Then you just lay back in the water and let it do its thing. The salt level in the water makes it very easy to float and there’s a blue light in the pod and relaxing music (both of which can be turned off, if that’s not your jam, but they were definitely a relief to me.)
Benefits of Floating During Pregnancy
If you think about it, floating freely in a soothing pool of water in a dark, enclosed space sounds a lot like a baby inside the womb. When you are laying there, totally relaxed and at peace, it’s easy to understand why sometimes babies get a little stubborn about having to be evicted from that environment. Apart from being able to identify with your baby’s surroundings, there are numerous benefits to floating while pregnant.
- You won’t be fighting gravity — The 900 pounds of epsom salt in the water make you feel totally weightless, a real treat when you are typically feeling a bit like a hippopotamus.
- Stress Relief — Growing a human is hard. It’s exhausting, stressful, and mentally strenuous. Floating gives you the opportunity to unplug and destress thanks to the lack of distraction. Floating naturally increases your dopamine and endorphin levels, boosting your mood and leaving you with a pleasant “afterglow” that lasts for days.
- Rest for Body and Baby — In addition to the mental benefits, floating can help reduce swelling, ease aches and pains, and bring a state of relaxation for Mom that creates an ultra-soothing atmosphere for Baby at the same time. This is especially appealing for women who prefer to avoid taking pain medication for muscle aches, back pain, etc.
And the big question. Did it help me feel any better? It felt great to just be floating in the warm water. No pain, no trouble breathing. It was great. I didn’t feel any lasting effects, like I do after a visit to the chiropractor, for example, but could definitely see myself going back in the future. In times of high stress or anxiety, I could see it being very useful and enjoyable. And during the winter when it’s cold out, a relaxing float in the warm water could be extremely nice.