Mother and Baby

Water birth

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Like the idea of floating your labour pains away in a pool? It’s a drug-free option that can work whether you give birth at home or in hospital

Water births are becoming increasingly common and popular as it is considered a natural way to keep relaxed and calm during labour. Welcome to your guide to everything you’ll need to know before making your decision.

What is a water birth?

During a water birth, you will be in a shallow tub or pool of warm water and supervised by a midwife.  You may find it less restricting than being in a hospital bed as birthing pools are wider and deeper than standard baths so you can move around whilst keeping your bump immersed in water, which many women find helps them to feel more in control.

You may find it more comfortable in the water as there will be less pressure on your joints, helping you to feel lighter and more relaxed.

When would you have a water birth?

If your labour is considered ‘low-risk’ by your midwife, then you will be able to get into the birthing pool once labour has started. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that a birthing pool will be available if you do decide you want to have a water birth, as the majority of hospitals often only have one pool.

It’s best to call your midwife as soon as possible once your labour has started to ensure your chances of securing a pool.

Why you should choose a water birth?

  • It is believed that the water mimics the amniotic fluid the baby is surrounded by in the womb, helping to ease the transition into the world
  • Many women say the warm water in the birthing pool can help you to feel calm, as well as naturally easing your labour pains
  • You can move around with more ease in the pool, as being in the water relieves pressure and makes you feel lighter
  • Your tummy will be fully submerged in the water, which will help soothe pain and can improve blood circulation
  • Can help you to feel more in control of your birth

Why shouldn’t you choose a water birth?

  • You may not be able to have a water birth if you have a history of heavy bleeding during pregnancy
  • If you have a medical condition such as diabetes or epilepsy
  • If you go into labour prematurely (before 37 weeks)
  • You will only be allowed the option of gas and air as additional pain relief; so if you think you will need stronger pain relieving drugs, you won’t be able to stay in the pool.
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