Water birth: is it right for you?
Sourced from Baby Centre Medical Advisory Board
If you’re thinking about using a birth pool, hearing from mums, dads and midwives with experience of water birth could help you with your decision.
What do mums think about water birth?
‘My midwife suggested trying the pool when I got to about 6cm dilated. I hadn’t thought of using it, but I really liked it when I got in. It was just so relaxing and peaceful. Time went by really quickly. Before I knew it the midwife was saying that I should get out if I wanted to give birth out of the pool. So I got out and Marisa was born 20 minutes later.’
‘I got into the pool when I was about 5cm dilated. But I didn’t like it at all. Right from the beginning, I wanted to get out. I didn’t find the water relaxing and felt tenser than before I got in. It just wasn’t for me.’
‘I didn’t want to give birth in the pool. I didn’t like the idea of that at all. But I thought I might get in for a while to help with the pain. And it was brilliant, just floating there. I was so relaxed and so in control. When it came to pushing, I stayed in and James was born in the pool, and it was fine.’
What do dads think about water birth?
‘The pool really helped Shona. She seemed to relax as soon as she got in, and she wasn’t making so much noise. She had some gas and air, and I don’t think she needed anything else. I was getting really tense before she got in. It was awful seeing her in so much pain. But after she’d got in, she obviously felt she could cope, and I felt I could, too!’
‘Sophie and I had talked about whether I should get into the pool. I wasn’t keen as I thought I’d look a bit silly. But because it was a home birth, I actually felt fine to get in when the time came. The midwife was brilliant. She just said, ‘Oh yes, get in. It’ll really help her.’ I supported Sophie when she wanted me to, and for the rest of the time, I just watched our baby being born. Amazing!’
What do midwives think about water birth?
‘The hospital where I work has a lot of experience of water birth. I’ve got a lot of confidence since starting to work here. I do think that being in the water calms mums-to-be. You can see them relaxing. Their shoulders aren’t so tense and their breathing gets calmer. Being with a mum who is labouring in water is very relaxing for the midwife, too. There really isn’t a lot to do. Just be with her and wait for the baby to be born!’
‘You’ve got much more opportunity to practise real midwifery when a woman is in the birth pool. She can’t have pethidine or an epidural, so she’s alert and awake. She needs you to encourage her and help her with her breathing, and keep on reassuring her. So you develop a wonderful relationship with her. You really get to know her. You can chat between contractions, or just hold her hand.’
‘Some women do want to get out of the pool to have an epidural. And some get out because they don’t like the pool, or there’s a problem with the baby’s heartbeat or the labour’s going really slowly. But, to be honest, that doesn’t happen often. Most mums-to-be really like the pool. And the babies are amazingly calm when they’re born. They often don’t cry. It can take some getting used to when babies usually scream their heads off when they arrive.’