Is it really unlikely I'll get a water birth?

(15 Posts)
splendide Tue 22-Apr-14 12:11:29

Sorry if this is a stupid question! I am really hoping for a water birth and my local hospital is Kingston. As far as I can work out there are only two birthing pools in the whole hospital (which is really busy). Realistically it seems to me very unlikely that I'll get one but the midwife was quite dismissive of this concern - any thoughts? Maybe I'll have to go homebirth if I can.

Elastigrrrl Tue 22-Apr-14 12:37:07

Hi Splendide. I'm in a relatively similar situation; want a water birth but at my (less busy) hospital they only have one tub.

I had the same concerns as you, but was ultimately reassured a. by learning that there are all kinds of reasons why a water birth might not work out on the day, mostly medical - so not only would many of the women I'd be "competing" with for the pool not get to not have one, but the same applies for me and I needed to accept the possibility; and b. by hearing from my midwife that she's never triaged a woman who wanted/could have a water birth and didn't get it. That may be why your midwife isn't concerned too.

You may also be able to labour in water without actually giving birth in there. If you get a normal maternity room they usually have largeish bathtubs that you can spend quite a bit of comfy time in, then hop (ha!) out for the birth.

Hope it works out for you smile

notnowbernard Tue 22-Apr-14 12:40:37

I live in a city where the maternity unit has only 1 pool

I've delivered in it 3 times grin

Whether that's bloody good luck or its a bit under used, I don't know...

Good luck and I hope you get you water birth. I had a really positive experience with each of mine

splendide Tue 22-Apr-14 12:43:42

Thanks, that's useful to hear. I may be hugely overstating how many other women fancy a water birth - I'm really keen!

Also you have to think that quite a lot of the women delivering at your unit won't be eligible to use the pool. Our unit has 2 pools and around 5000 births a year. It's rare that women who want the pool don't get it.

notnowbernard Tue 22-Apr-14 12:47:05

I've found a lot of water births seem to happen at home

Foxsticks Tue 22-Apr-14 12:48:11

I was unlucky and got pipped to the post with the one pool in our hospital. The mw this time said I'd just had bad luck as normally it's empty.

LokiTheCynicalCat Tue 22-Apr-14 12:48:43

I was told the same thing at St Thomas's - they have 2 pools and 7000 births a year. I think they said there was only one occasion in 2011 (I gave birth in 2012) that the pools had been occupied when someone wanted it.

I really wanted one myself but was not eligible for it as my labour wasn't progressing.

Tangoandcreditcards Tue 22-Apr-14 12:59:23

I gave birth in Kingston 2 months ago. I also wanted a water birth, I think they have 3 pools (2 in the birth centre and 1 in the labour ward).

Anyway, I ended up in a room with the pool in the birth centre but didn't end up using it because there wasn't time!

I'd have got a water birth if they hadn't sent me home 2 and a half hours into my 4 hour labour (came rushing straight back as was getting urge to push by the time we got home!), but I'll take my 4 hour dry-land labour over a 12 hour water birth any day - so not too gutted!!

Midwives told me that most women who want, and can have, a water birth end up getting it. However there are so many reasons it can't happen that you may not want to 'set your heart on it'. The ward and the birth centre at Kingston were both full on the night I gave birth, but still got the pool room, so think if you really want it, it will be available, many more women seem to want/have epidurals (ruling out a water birth).

Good luck, and just make sure your birthing partner is clear what you want as you might not be in a position/state to insist!

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Tue 22-Apr-14 13:22:40

I think that the reality is that so many women (especially first timers) don't get a water birth for reasons other than availability of the pool that availability becomes a lower issue.

I wanted a water birth first time, but a prolonged latent stage meant that I never got to the 5cm the hospital required before various interventions kicked in that meant I was no longer eligible for one. The criteria can be pretty strict.

splendide Tue 22-Apr-14 13:38:01

I probably should keep in mind it might not be possible. It's really hard to manage expectations isn't it?

MyDarlingClementine Tue 22-Apr-14 13:39:41

I wanted a water birth and the pool was free, its just I was in so much pain I couldn't physically move to get into it!My hosp was frantically busy.

Keep open minded for all possibilities.

LizzieMint Tue 22-Apr-14 13:41:56

Waterbirths are actually quite rare, so you'd have to be really unlucky to need a pool and one to be unavailable. Have you considered having one at home? Then it's guaranteed to be available and no one can tell you you can't get in if you want to! I had two home water births and water births are amazing, the pain relief you get from it is unbelievable.

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Tue 22-Apr-14 13:52:23

Yes OP. You really do need to keep an open mind.

I don't want to be negative, but of al the women I met pre-DD1, I can think of about 10 who wanted a water birth and a couple who wanted an epidural ASAP (excluding those who planned sections). Only one of those women had a water birth. For many and varied reasons. Too quick. Too slow. Wanted more pain relief. Meconium in the waters. Other indicators for monitoring.

I'm not saying that that is representative. But it's definitely best to think of it as 'if this is suitable and available on the day' rather than saying 'I will have a water birth' and fixing on it as your way of coping. If you do the latter, you might go to bits rather if it doesn't work out. I hope it does though smile

Thurlow Tue 22-Apr-14 14:24:40

Definitely just go with an open mind. As other posters have said, there are reasons other than the pool not being free which means you aren't allowed a water birth. It's tempting to get focused on the birth experience you want, but there are so many variable factors that can change what is happening, most of them minor but enough to mean you have more monitoring, or opt for pain relief etc. Even planning a home water birth doesn't automatically mean you will be able to stay at home the whole time and end up giving birth there.

I'd always recommend reading up on everything that can happen and the different pain relief and interventions available and having a plan for the different likely scenarios - induction, prolonged latent stage, needing more monitoring, deciding you want pain relief, things like that - and having a bit of a plan for each one. It helps to feel in control and know what is going on if people do start muttering about ventouse or breaking your waters.

Good luck - I really do hope you get the birth you want, but please don't focus too much on an idealised experience as, like other posters, I know very few women who had exactly what they had in mind, even though most were fine with what they did get,

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