Water births - an introduction
Midwife Clemmie answers your queries:
Women often enjoy relaxing in warm water in pregnancy and some swim or attend antenatal classes at local swimming pools. Many hospitals in the UK now offer the choice of a pool to use in labour, as well as the choice of other types of pain relief. Use of warm water has long been recognised as a very effective way of helping women relax in labour.
You cannot normally 'reserve’ a pool, it comes on a first come first serve basis, unless you are at home and have provided your own pool. http://www.thegoodbirth.co.uk/
Water births are available to women who have a low risk pregnancy and spontaneously go into labour between 37 and 41 weeks of pregnancy.
The benefits of water are as follows:
• The water supports your body, so you can move around and change position easily.
• Warm water can be very relaxing, it may help you to 'let go' and allow your body to do its work.
• Relaxing in warm water may help you to produce endorphins to help you cope with labour, so you may not need to use other types of pain relief.
• A birthing pool gives you your space, which may increase your sense of privacy.
• You are less likely to need an epidural for pain relief!
Discuss with your midwife around 36 weeks of your pregnancy your 'birth plan' and you can include things like 'I would like to try the pool for pain relief if it is available'.
The midwife will listen to your baby's heart beat with an underwater hand held device which means you can relax and not have to stand up and leave the pool each time she does this. Most women prefer to be naked in the pool but if you would prefer, you can wear a bikini type top/crop top. You can use entanox (gas and air) in the pool but not pethidine or an epidural.
Find out if your local hospital offers a tour of their labour ward or a water birth talk.