Updated: Sep 29
A growing popular choice for expectant couples, when it comes to the birth of their baby, is to have a waterbirth.
A waterbirth means, to give birth in a birthing pool, that is nice and spacious, deep and filled with warm water. You can choose to have a waterbirth at the hospital, a birthing centre or at home, depending on your preferences and the guidance from your maternity care team.
What are the benefits of having a waterbirth?
💧Water can be a natural pain reliever, which of course most mothers to be will be keen to try. The warmth of the water helps you to relax, remain calmer and find things less intense. This allows you to feel more in control of your body as it prepares for birth.
💧You have the freedom to move! The lovely deep water, helps to take the weight off your pregnant body and you can change positions easily, helping you to stay comfortable. Enhancing your birthing experience, as you feel more in control.
💧As the water helps you to feel calm, this reduces any stresses or anxieties you may have. So you can have that calm birth environment you so desire. Helping your birthing hormones to work effectively and encouraging your labour to keep progressing.
💧This can all mean you have the potential for a shorter labour too, with less need for other pain relief methods. As you feel more calm and confident, you are able to cope better during your labour. So there is often less need for pain relief. Plus you are allowing your body to do what it needs to do! This can mean labour progresses quicker than maybe it would of, if not in a birth pool.
💧The warm water can also lead to less chance of needing an episiotomy and reduce perineal tearing during childbirth. Which of course is a massive added bonus!🙌🏻
💧Your baby has just spent around 9 months floating around in it's amniotic fluid. When we give birth in the water, some believe it makes your baby's transition in to the world, more gentle as some think it provides your baby a less stressful birth.
Why might a waterbirth not be recommended?
💧As wonderful as a waterbirth sounds, not everyone is suitable. Certain medical conditions, such as preeclampsia or preterm labour, may mean this would not be a suitable birth plan. Your midwifery team will help to determine if this is a possibility for you, depending on the circumstances.
💧The best time to get in to a birth pool for labour is in the 2nd stage of labour as you are nearing birth. If you go in too early, it may cause things to really slow down as you will be too relaxed too soon. So you may need to wait some time, until the water can really help benefit your labour.
💧You may also be asked to step out of the birth pool, once your in. You may even need to leave the birth pool to actually give birth, depending on different situations. Your midwife will usually need to be able to monitor your birthing progress and sometimes this is made more difficult, by being in the water. So if they need to check something, they may ask you to come out for a bit.
💧Remember as well, as keen as you may be to have a waterbirth, a birthing pool may not always be available to you. So try not to set your heart on a waterbirth, just in case they are having a busy time with lots of delivering mothers.
Waterbirth can be a gentle alternative to childbirth. Waterbirth isn't for everyone as well. If the idea of a waterbirth leaves you feeling worried, that's not a problem, you don't have to have one just because everyone else is. No matter how you have your baby, you should feel as comfortable as you can and the goal with every birth is to make sure everyone arrives as safely and healthy as they can.
Did you know, this is something I cover in my antenatal courses, plus learning about all you other pain relief options. Take a look at the courses running in West Malling.