|I live close to a hospital that has a water birth facility,
but I can’t believe that it can make much of a difference.
Am I wrong?
The reason that water births have gained in popularity
since the 1960’s when they were first researched,
is that the benefits for both mother and baby are so marked.
The main comment that mothers seem to make is that the pain
of labour is much more manageable when supported by the
warm water. It is not uncommon for a woman to use the water
to ease her labour, and then leave the water for the delivery.
The warmth and peace of a birthing pool is generally very
calming for a labouring woman. The support of the water
allows her to adopt postures which relieve the labour pain
and assist the process, much more easily than would have
been the case on land. Just being more relaxed can be enough
to help labour along, and many women comment on the increased
sense of privacy and of being in control that the water
seems to provide. The buoyancy of the water reduces the
strain that the labouring body is experiencing, and enables
the upright position to be maintained with less effort,
thus further assisting the progress of labour.
Research has shown that all these factors contribute towards
a reduced time in labour as well as a reduction in the amount
of drugs and other interventions required for a successful
birth.. It is best if the woman only enter the water once
labour is well established, and the cervix is dilated around
5 – 7 cm. Evidence suggests that labouring in water
is a way of optimizing the hormone output of the woman’s
body, and that this is best accomplished in a well established
labour, so that the stimulation experienced is able to continue
long enough to achieve a successful outcome.
The important thing to remember is that you should follow
your instincts. If you feel this is not an experience that
would work for you, then that is a perfect decision for
you. However, since you are in the enviable position of
having a birthing pool nearby, it may be worth a visit.
You may feel that once you have seen the facility and interacted
with the staff, that it could be an option for you.
Remember also that birth is an unpredictable event. Should
you decide to use the facility, there is no guarantee that
it will work out. Your doctor or midwife may decide that
it is not appropriate for you ( for example if your waters
break but your labour has not started by the next day) or
you may decide on the day that it is not the right option.
Be flexible, and remember, a healthy baby is the most important
Water birth - Reasons not to
Water birth - Safety of baby