“Introducing a deep pool of water to the birthing room is a way to make your labour shorter, easier and more comfortable.
It increases your sense of privacy and helps to make your baby’s entry to the world gentle and free from trauma, whether the birth occurs in or beside the pool”
Janet Balaskas – “Water Birth”
During your labour relaxing in a deep pool of warm water can be a wonderful aid.
It’s using a pool mainly for this reason – even if you are not planning a water birth.
A birth pool may help you to manage pain effectively in labour and considerably reduce your need for medical pain relief.
Studies have shown that fewer epidurals are needed when women use a water birth pool.
You are supported by the buoyancy of the water.
This allows you to relax easily and more deeply.
This helps you to cope with contractions and rest more comfortably in between them.
By saving energy you’re less likely to become tired or exhausted.
It’s easier for you to use upright or squatting positions in water than it is on land and to move freely from one position to another as you explore what works best for you.
You are likely to have an increased feeling of privacy and security in the pool.
If you enter the pool at the right time (5-6cms dilation) you can expect a boost in the secretion of the hormone oxytocin.
This will stimulate strong contractions.
The ‘oxytocin wave” when you enter the pool in strong labour lasts for approximately two hours.
You are likely to dilate rapidly during this time.
You may choose to have your baby in water
Welcoming your baby in water can be a joyous and wonderful experience.
However, you may choose to leave the pool for the birth itself.
It’s best for you to keep an open mind, rather than to have a fixed plan to give birth in water, even though the idea may be very appealing.
If you progress well in the pool during labour, or if your birth happens soon after you enter the water, you may wish to stay in the pool for the birth.
Your baby can be born under water without increased risk provided there is good midwifery care and there are no known complications.
Your baby is gently brought to the surface before taking his first breath.
- A greater possibility of normal physiological labour and birth
- The buoyancy of water helps mothers benefit from upright positions
- Nothing helps mothers cope with pain in labour more effectively
- Reasons to consider a water birth
- The use of water for labour and birth
- Water Birth Pools: The economic reality and impact