Whether you are planning to give birth to your baby in a private or public hospital you may like to consider using a birth pool or a deep bath. They are now widely available and the relaxing effects of the warm water can make a huge difference in reducing discomfort and helping you to achieve a drug-free labour and birth.
Here are my top 5 reasons to consider using a birthing pool!
1. Comfort - Water has relaxation qualities which enable you to move and be buoyant in the pool. It is calming for both you and your baby and has long been known for its therapeutic properties. It provides a soothing and comforting environment for your labour and possibly birth your baby in. Water can help calm your birth companions. If you relax so do they.
2. Cocooned personal space – The pool provides a warm personal space, this reduces stress and anxiety, which in turn lessens the perception of pain and gives you confidence in your own ability to give birth. It’s like having your own personal nest.
3. Supports your weight – Many women use the pool only once their labour is reasonably advanced, this can give immediate relief to your contractions, as it is so much easier to change positions when buoyant. If you choose to stay in the pool to give birth, then the water makes it easier for you to stay upright, helping your pelvis to open up so your baby can pass through.
4. Reduced risk of tearing - The water softens the tissues of your perineum making them more supple and able to stretch to accommodate your baby’s head as it passes through.
5. It feels good! - Relaxing in warm water stimulates your body to produce pain-relieving endorphins. If you like a soak in a bath, then this might just be for you! In fact, getting into the pool is so relaxing that it can often speed up labour.
Many women spend time in the pool during labour but get out just before the birth, whilst others once in, stay in, and give birth in the water. The choice is yours and if you find you don’t like it when the time comes, just get out! Be prepared to get in and out, as advised by your midwife - and be guided by how you feel.
Many experts believe that being born into warm water eases your baby’s transition to the outside world, but equally the benefits to you for a calm, comfortable birthing experience, would have the same beneficial outcome for your baby.
Is it safe for you and your baby?
For healthy women with straightforward low-risk pregnancies, a water birth is considered just as safe as giving birth on dry land. Your midwife will monitor you and your baby whilst you are in the water, and may ask you to get out if she has any concerns. If you give birth in the water you will probably be asked to get out after the expulsion of the placenta as there’s a very slight risk you could bleed at this stage and it is easier for the midwife to monitor this out of the water.
A common concern is that your baby might inhale water during the birth, but all the evidence indicates that this does not happen. After all, your baby has been in fluid for the last 40 weeks without drowning, so why should it start now?
Who can’t have a water birth?
Of course there will be circumstances that make a water birth inappropriate, such as special circumstances in your pregnancy, which is why it is important to take advice from your midwife in the period leading up to your due date. Be open minded and don’t get anxious or stressed if circumstances remove the option from your best laid plans!
Please get in touch if you would like to know more.