When you think about labor and your birth plan it can lead you to a fork in the road. This fork has the potential to lead you down two routes, natural or medical.
For me I loved the idea of a natural birth, I didn’t want the epidural if I could help it and I really didn’t want to be drugged to the nines when my baby entered the world.
With a natural birth emblazoned in my mind I set my sights on alternative pain relief. Water births started popping up on my Google searches, and the more I read about them the more that I craved one.
I loved the idea of floating around the pool and being able to change into the positions with ease, I read about people not tearing or tearing as badly during birth and these points were big selling points for me in making my decision.
For me a water birth was the very best choice, it allowed me to keep control and gave me my own little space away from prodding hands and internal examinations.
It provided me with the space that I needed in a time that I needed it.
Being in the water can slow down labor and I was warned when I got into the pool that the contractions may slow down or could even stop altogether. This luckily didn't happen and I was able to labor in the pool before delivering my baby boy into the water.
I then stayed in the pool in our own little space while we waited for the placenta to deliver. They even allowed Leo to stay attached to the placenta until it had been delivered.
The whole water birth experience is a beautiful option to be able to have, it gives you space, comfort and for me security. Of course it won’t be for everybody and so many people will have experienced a completely different scenario to me, but for me personally it made the whole experience un-forgettable.
But what are the advantages to water birth and do I agree?
- The water alone can provide excellent pain relief without additional measures such as gas and air.
- Getting into the pool really did offer a sense of relief, the water cushions you and takes away the edge. The heat of the water is comforting and relaxing, being deep enough to encase your entire bump. The water itself is a pain relief factor but admittedly I did huff and puff relentlessly at times on the gas and air.
- You can still use gas and air (enthanox) should you wish.
- Some research has suggested that a water birth is less likely to lead to medical intervention such as forceps, ventouse delivery, episiotomy, or tearing.
My whole water birth experience was amazing. I was left to my own devices, and told go with what my body was telling me. Every so often the midwife would ask me to raise my bump out of the water so that she could monitor the fetal heartbeat just to keep a check on how baby was doing. When I began pushing, within 10/15 minutes I had a baby on my chest. I had a small tear but nothing that required stitches and I felt that I got away so lightly because of the water.
A water birth will be on my birthing plan for any additional babies I go on to have, not only is it a fantastic way to labor and give birth to a baby but I found those first moments with Leo magical.
Of course there are possible downsides to a water birth that you have to take into consideration when writing your birth plan or considering your options:
- Not every hospital or maternity unit has the facilities to offer a water birth.
- If you need medical intervention you won’t be able to continue in the pool and it can take time to get you into a situation where you can be better attended to.
- No TENS machine.
- In some cases it can slow down labor.
- No Pethidine or epidurals can be used in the pool.
- Water births are not advised if your baby is breech, being induced, have pre-eclampsia or are overdue/pre-term (there are other medical reasons that can prevent you having a water birth)
Do you have an experience of water birth that you would like to share?