Hands up who loves relaxing in a warm bath? How about floating in the warm ocean, letting the salty water keep you afloat, while your thoughts just drift away....ah bliss!
Water can be really soothing to the mind and body. Now imagine experiencing that wonderful relaxing feeling during birth. The water takes the weight of your body and your bump feels light and all pregnancy aches disappear.
There are so many advantages to having a water birth:
Reduces stress and anxiety
Helps release feel-good hormones
Provides a perfect little "nest" for you during birth
Babies born under water are often calmer than babies born in air
Can ease any aches or discomfort in your back
As the water supports your weight, you're able to hold some birth positions for longer
It reduces the risk of tearing
It's great at reducing aches and pains
Promotes deeper relaxation
Relaxes pelvic floor muscles
Increased mobility as water supports your weight - makes it easier for you to change positions
And so much more!
Listen to your body...if you really want to get in the water, then jump in! If you don't really fancy it, then wait a while and see if you want to get in a bit later. It's a good idea not to spend too much time in the water during the first stage of labour, and it's usually advised not to get in until you're 4-5cm dilated. Some birth partners also like to jump in to be close to mum to support her.
Is it safe for you?
Most research indicates that water birth is just as safe as giving birth out of the water, for healthy women with healthy babies, with straightforward low-risk pregnancies. Some midwives are happy for you to deliver the placenta in the water, leaving you to take your time having skin-to-skin with your baby in the water. If you are having a managed third stage you will probably be asked to get out of the water for the delivery of the placenta, so that you can have the syntocinon injection.
Is it safe for your baby?
Your midwife will use a hand-held waterproof Sonicaid, so she can still monitor your baby’s heart rate while you’re in the water. She will ask you to get out if she feels your baby may be in distress. Many experts believe that being born into warm water eases your baby’s transition to the outside world. Many babies born in water are calm and quiet. The main concern would be that he may inhale water but all the evidence indicates that this is extremely unlikely. Remember that when your baby is born under water, he/she will be receiving all the oxygen they need through the umbilical cord. Your baby wont take a breath until the air touches his/her face when brought to the surface.
Water birth in a hospital
Most hospitals have birth pools available to use in the birth rooms. Bear in mind that just because they have a birth pool, it doesn't mean it will definitely be available for you to use, or that a midwife experienced in water births will be on duty when you need it.
Water birth at home
There are lots of companies out there that hire out birth pools, or you can buy your own! They come in a few sizes, some with integrated seats! Aim to rent the pool for 2 weeks either side of your due date in case your baby puts in an early appearance or you go overdue (only 5% of babies are born on their due dates!). You will need a big space to put the pool, with plenty of space around the pool for the midwife and your birth partner to be able to reach you. Remember too that you’ll need adequate water pressure to fill it quickly and to be able to maintain the temperature by adding warm water often. Your midwife will do a home visit a week or so before your due date to discuss your home birth, and she will give you a list of all the supplies you'll need.
Calm Waves Birth Pool for hire!
I have a lovely Birth Pool in a Box for hire - FREE for my HypnoBirthing families! It comes with the air pump, water hoses and pump. You'll need to buy a liner to go inside and all the other necessary bits and pieces (hand-held mirror, thermometer, sieve etc).
This is the pool I have available:
It's an Eco Mini personal pool from Birth Pool in a Box
If you decide that you would like to hire my birth pool, just let me know!