Giving Birth In Water
Many women decide they would like to try giving birth in water. This method seems to be becoming increasingly popular as more and more women spread the word of their amazing experiences.
When I was pregnant with Freddy, I decided that I wanted to try for a water birth. Unfortunately it didn’t work out because things didn’t go as planned, but I will definitely want to try again next time.
So, what is so good about giving birth in water?
Well, it seems you can ask any mum who has had a water birth and they will tell you that it was an amazing experience and, in their opinion, the very best way to deliver a baby.
What are the benefits?
1. The warm water helps to ease the pain of contractions, much like a bath helps with abdominal pain.
2. A water birth is comfortable because the water gives you a weightless feeling and enables you to move around freely.
3. You are still able to benefit from gas and air as it can be brought to the side of the pool.
4. You have the option of having your partner in the pool with you for support.
5. Giving birth in water seems to result in calmer babies, probably due to a more relaxed mother and an easier labour.
6. You can stay in there for as long as you like during your labour – if you don’t actually want to deliver in the water you can get out before baby arrives.
7. Many women are able to help pull their own babies out when the have a water birth because they can position themselves better.
8. Research suggests that women giving birth in water are less likely to need other forms of pain relief and may even have shorter labours.
Giving Birth In Water - At Home
It is possible to have a home water birth, but you will need to make all the preparations for this.
You will need to hire a pool that is at least two feet deep and about five feet wide. When a pool like this has the right amount of water in it is can be very heavy, so you will need to make sure that’s ok for where you want to put it. Will the floorboards take the weight?!
You will need to allow space around the outside for midwives and all their gear and your partner to get to you easily and for you to get in and out.
There will need to be a good water supply and easy access to the pool so that it can be topped up with warm water during your labour.
Water Births - At Hospital
Many hospitals have a pool that is available for mums-to-be to use for giving birth in. They will have to ensure that this meets up to regulations and is safe to use, so you don't have to worry about that responsibility.
You may have to let them know in advance that you would like to use the pool, and also you will want to include your wishes in your birth plan.
Some allow you to use the pool for part of your labour but prefer you to deliver outside the pool. It’s best to talk this through with the professionals beforehand so that you know what to expect.
What Might Prevent You Having A Water Birth?
In most cases it is felt that giving birth in water is very safe and is beneficial for both mother and baby. There are, however, some things that might cause the professionals to advise you against having a water birth. What are these?
1. If you have a high temperature or blood pressure.
2. If the baby is in the breech position (bottom down).
3. If the baby is showing signs of distress or irregular heartbeat.
4. If you have had painkillers in the last four hours (such as pethidine).
5. If you are considered to have a high risk of problems occurring.
6. If you are known to be HIV positive.
Certainly, if giving birth in water appeals to you, then give it a try. Just make sure that you have done your research and know what is involved and that you are well prepared, especially if you decide to have a home water birth.
If I manage to succeed in having a water birth next time, I’ll be sure to share my experiences.
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