The double heartbeat: Floating your way to motherhood
Updated: Jul 19, 2020
Float therapy offers tremendously positive effects to expecting mothers, or those wishing to become mothers. If you’ve met me, you know that I believe floating can benefit everyone, and encourage all my friends and loved ones to incorporate it into their lives. Since hammering this on my close friends a shocking number of them have found themselves with child. This could be complete coincidence, but some of them had been trying to get pregnant for some time and it wasn’t until they incorporated floating that they conceived. The reduction of stress, balancing of hormones and visualization the tank provides has had a massively positive effect on their ability to conceive. This is not just my conclusion; many people have reported an increase in fertility from floating. When all other medical issues have been ruled out, stress is the most likely culprit for infertility. When you are in a state of stress your body prevents conception because it’s much harder for your body to bring a baby to term in a stressful environment. So, if you are trying to have a baby but haven’t reached fertilization yet floating might be just what you’re missing!
This entry is pregnancy focused, but there are a few other things you should know about floating while female that we haven't touched on here. Check out the entry called Ladies, Ladies, Ladies for more information.
There is a rumor going around that women shouldn’t float in their first trimester. I’ve read this on the websites of a couple float studios, but the reasoning is never sourced. I have conducted research (as have many in the float community) but can’t find where this rumor started and have found zero research to support it. I believe businesses say this so that they cannot be responsible in the event something ever did happen; a cover your ass measure. Fair enough, but based on the evidence before me I think it’s total hooey! (note: I am not an expert of anything). Every single human is unique, every pregnancy is unique, and you should follow your own practical wisdom and seek expert opinion when applicable.
Here at oGo Float we have some first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to float during your pregnancy compliments of our lovely sister, and float ambassador, Karla.
Karla became pregnant in the summer of 2016 and is due February 27th. This blog details her float journey to date. I am pleased to introduce you to my sister Karla!
Belly painting courtesy of Esthetics by Nicole
Q. Have you floated all throughout your pregnancy?
Karla: yes, from beginning to end.
Q. Were there any times/periods during your pregnancy that you found it more challenging to float?
Karla: The hardest part for me is getting through the exhaustion. I was working in excess of full time hours into my 37th week and some days when I came home from work trying to talk myself into having two showers and float seemed like a lot to do. It’s ironic that I would avoid a tool to help me with my exhaustion, because I was too exhausted! When I had to talk myself into a float I was always glad I did because it gave me a boost of energy for the next week.
Floating during the first trimester was a little chaotic because my brain was rushing with so much new life changing information and my body was pulsing with new levels of various hormones. It was harder for me to subdue my running mind. I had moderately bad morning sickness in my first trimester and I found that floating really helped with that. Bladder sensitivity was also a recurring issue, but I found into my 2nd and 3rd trimesters I could stay in longer.
Q. What have been the greatest benefits you received from floating while pregnant?
Karla: Hearing the baby’s heart beat was a big one. Long before I heard it in the doctor’s office I could hear it in the tank; and much earlier than I expected. This has allowed me to bond with my unborn in ways I never thought possible.
Floating has evened out my hormones which has been a great relief. Even though this is my first baby, and the circumstances leading up to this path were probably not what others would describe as ideal, I have been quite chill about it all. My friends, family and even my midwife has commented on how rational and calm I am about the pregnancy, which I guess some women aren’t?? The reduction of stress has been a life saver. It’s great that I don’t feel like I’m on a roller coaster, I’m pretty even keel.
My capacity for learning has increased with the use of the tank. I often read pregnancy books or watch informational You Tube clips before I go into the tank. Once in the tank I review what I learned and am able to better process and retain that knowledge. Being my first child, I feel I have a lot to learn. After learning about how my body is changing to accommodate for the life I am creating I can picture the changes in the tank, track the baby’s movements better and feel better connected with my womanhood.
Q. What have been the greatest benefits you think the baby has received?
Karla: This one is obviously hard to say, but while it’s still literally a part of me I feel like I can speak on it’s behalf. The baby seems to radiate a much calmer energy when I’m floating. When I’m in the tank and all the pressure is removed from my joints and muscles the baby is free to move better too. Within the womb the baby is already suspended in a floating cradle, when I float I often joke that the baby is double floating! Float².
I think the biggest benefit to the baby, is also the biggest benefit to me. The better care I’m taking of myself the better off the baby is. I feel the baby and I have connected on a far deeper level than we could have without the float tank.
(Authors note: it is said the float tank is the closest we will ever come to the feeling of being back in the womb. The water is warm, it’s dark, safe and comfortable. There is even a cheeky float centre named ‘The Womb Room’).
Q. How has your float practice changed since becoming pregnant?
Karla: During the first trimester, my floats were shorter in duration because my bladder was adjusting to make room for a human. I move around in the tank more; I can stretch in the tank in ways I can’t do without the support of the water. My physical body is lower in the tank because I’m heavier. There are no negative consequences of floating deeper, just an observation.
I experiment with different float positions but one of the things that I like the most is that my go-to float position hasn’t changed (pictured below). Being pregnant I’ve had to change the way I sleep, the way I tie my shoes, but this is one thing that hasn’t drastically changed and I love that!
Photo Courtesy of Float Tank Solutions
Q. What tools have you used to help you float?
Karla: I often play music in the tank and that hasn’t changed. It does prevent me from hearing the heart beat so I don’t use it every time. I have created playlists of a certain duration with the intention of encouraging myself to stay in the tank longer to achieve maximum benefits. As previously mentioned I will watch You Tube clips or read a book before a float to help me absorb information – especially with ‘baby brain’ it’s nice to have the tank to help me retain information better.
Photo Courtesy of Float Tank Solutions
Q. What feedback have you received from your doctor’s/midwife when you tell them about floating?
Karla: My midwife told me that she wished all expecting mothers would incorporate floating into their rituals so they could experience the same level of calm. I am still able to sleep on my back, which is fantastic for me, but most people no longer have that luxury at 8 months pregnant. My midwife thinks the reason I’m still comfortable on my back is because I dedicate time releasing the pressure from my spine in the gravity free environment of the float tank.
My midwife is hopeful that after the birth, the float tank will help heal my body and mind faster, and I look forward to that.
At 8 months’ pregnant I’m still working more than full time hours. I don’t know if that would be possible without floating.
Q. Would you recommend floating for other pregnant ladies?
Karla: Every day I tell people how important floating has been to my journey, and every time I come across a fellow pregger I am certain to recommend they get into the closest available float tank!
Q. Did you notice anything that you didn’t expect from floating pregnant?
Karla: How soon I could hear the heart beat! I was shocked how early I heard it. Also I had never cried in a float tank before being pregnant, and with the increase of hormones there were a lot of tears at the beginning, so I was glad to have a face cloth handy to wipe my face.
Photo Courtesy of Float Tank Solutions
(this position is best for hearing the baby's heart beat)
Q. Do you have any recommendations for others considering floating for pregnancy?
Karla: Float more frequently than I did! That is my only regret is that I didn’t get into the tank more often. I often let exhaustion get the best of me, but I was resisting the thing that would have helped my exhaustion the most.
I would recommend participating in a couple’s float with your significant other. I think it would be incredibly valuable bonding time for the father to hear the heart beat and experience some of the bonding that I received.
Even if you don’t have a significant other or the ability to float together I would suggest the father, other family members, grandparents, siblings, anyone directly involved with your growing family float. Keeping the individuals around you calm and unstressed will help mama remain calm and unstressed.
Photo Courtesy of Float Tank Solutions
So that sums up all of the questions I had for her about floating, but I wanted to open it up and let Karla tell you more about her float journey from her perspective and in her own words. Take it away sista!
Why should you float while pregnant?
(by Karla Turner)
To me floating and pregnancy are very similar in some ways. They are both very personal experiences and can be very hard to put into words or have someone else truly understand. Within each float and within each pregnancy there are so many things that nobody else will feel but you. Sure, there can be similarities with each pregnancy and each float but how our bodies relate to the experience is very much one of a kind.
If you have never floated before, trying it while pregnant is a great way to really soak in the benefits of the tank. People use float tanks for several different reasons; stress reduction, improve rest and sleep, healing sore muscles, increased brain function and focus, and those results are heightened while pregnant. I am pregnant with my first child and know that without floating I would have had a very different pregnancy.
Having children was never in my plans. I love kids but felt for me I was happy without children of my own and I didn’t need kids to be happy with life. I still don’t feel like women should feel they need children to be fulfilled. So when I went to the walk-in clinic thinking I had food poisoning, and instead learned that I was going to be a mother, I was overwhelmed with stress, fear, worry, and the feeling that the happy life that I knew and loved was over. For the first few weeks or maybe even months, I was struggling with the idea of being a mother. I know a lot of women that have dreamed of becoming mothers their whole lives, and it doesn’t work out for them. I felt that they deserved it more than I did, and that they would be better prepared and ready for motherhood than I ever would be. I thought about adoption, wanting to give one of those ready to be mother’s their dream come true, but something just didn’t feel right about it. The thought didn’t last long, however I was still struggling with the idea of becoming a parent. While floating, I tried to imagine myself with a baby in hopes that visualizing it would help. Each time I would only see myself with a grown adult that I was friends with, rather than a parent. I think this is because of the wonderful relationship I have with my mother. She has always been a great parent, but as I got older we have become great friends, and I want that so much for my child. There was one float that changed all of it for me. I imagined myself with my baby. I could sense that my child was telling me that we were going to be great. I was assured that everything was going to work out just fine, and that this baby has chosen me to be its mother. Above all else we would be together and be happy and healthy. I knew in that moment that the two of us could take on anything the world threw at us! Also with this message I received the baby’s name. I have decided not to learn the gender of my baby in advance, but since that float I have a name and picture of my baby’s face to keep me strong and calm. I know that the name and face of the baby might be different from what I have envisioned, but since that float it’s like a switch flipped. There was a calm that washed over me and ever since I have been so thankful that this amazing spirit has chosen me to be such a big part in their life.
When talking to other moms and mom’s to be, the most common ailment I see is stress. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I will have a lot of stress coming my way while learning how to be a mother and never knowing if I’m doing things right, however there has only been a few times during my pregnancy when I truly felt stress. I believe we think we are more stressed than we actually are. When we do have stress, we don’t always know how to work through it in the best way, which only leads to more stress. Pregnancy and motherhood can be very stressful, for so many reasons. Floating has helped me deal with the stresses rather then giving into them. The tank is such a calm, quiet place and allows your body and mind to work together to find the best solution to each issue. Floating helps you to handle the increase of hormones and detect the real stresses rather then over reacting. The best part about not having a stressful pregnancy is that I can enjoy it to the fullest.
We are all told to take it easy when pregnant and to get lots of rest. With a baby moving like crazy, our bodies doing new things all the time, and trying to remember if we left the stove on, this can be almost impossible. But yes, resting our bodies and minds is very important for the baby’s growth. Floating helps to get the rest you need for both you and the baby. Throughout my pregnancy I have had a few bad weeks of sleep but for the most part I sleep all the way through the night. I can still sleep on my back without any pain or discomfort. I know that floating is the reason for this. I’m not a person who enjoys sleeping with pillows or on my side. The fact that I haven’t needed these tools while pregnant has been such a blessing to me.
The sore body… yes at times I still get sore and know when I’m over doing things. With everything getting bigger and shifting, being able to truly take the weight off my muscles, bones and joints is so nice. Some days just getting in and out of bed can be tricky and painful. After I float I feel so much better my body can move with little pain or discomfort. There are several different positions that you can float in, and while pregnant I have found many more that help stretch out my sore body in a supportive way. A lot of women complain about not being able to lay on their stomachs, however in the tank you can float in any position you like. On your stomach, side, back. I do a mixture of them all to get the best out of each position. I use the different positions as tools to help stretch my body in different ways. In the tank I can stretch further then on my own. I also experiment with different birthing positions in hopes that when I’m in labour I will know what I like best and where my body feel comfortable.
Pregnancy float photos courtesy of
Kirsten Gerrish and Lena Kilic run both a birth center and float center in Alaska. They use floating to help their clients through their pregnancies with great results. These ladies are far more qualified to tell you about the benefits of floating for pregnancy, and they do just that in this short video.