Labouring without water

(68 Posts)
peaceloveandbiscuits Mon 21-Nov-16 19:29:15

I'm consultant-led because of high BMI. In my last pregnancy I was forbidden from using a birthing pool so the midwives wouldn't have to drag my immense bulk from the water were anything to happen to me. By a stroke of luck, a rogue midwife let me labour in the one pool on the labour ward (also luck that it was available), and it was a wonderful experience. It really helped me deal with the pain (also had G&A but didn't need anything else), and meant I could change position easily in the water so I was active and comfortable. I ended up getting out of the pool to deliver, but labouring in the water was very beneficial to me.

Now I'm pregnant again I'm obviously facing the same issues, but I'm terrified of labouring out of water. Can anyone who has done both advise me as to whether it was awful out of the water and much more painful? I'd rather avoid an epidural but I worry that G&A won't be enough on its own.

I'm hoping to demonstrate that I can safely use the pool given my past experience (I got in and out by myself a number of times), and hope they might see me as a whole person (a fit and active one) rather than just a BMI.
Of course this all relies on the one pool on the ward being available when I want it sad

And of course if I can't have the pool, I will have to just get on with it, but I do worry that it will lead to further intervention without the water as an aid.

Winniethepooer Mon 21-Nov-16 21:19:18

I had water births with dc 4& 5.
I felt it helped enormously with the pain & used no otber pain relief. I would have reacted exactly like you, if someone had suggested i couldn't use the pool with dc6.

But with dc 6 my waters broke a little while after I got in the pool. It just didn't seem to be helping as the labout was progressing incredibly fast. Then we realised dd had opened her bowels.

When the MW said i needed to get out, i literally jumped out!

So yes a water birth can seem much less painful but its not the only factor. I also used hypnosis which i found brilliant.

Good luck!

IEatCannibals Mon 21-Nov-16 21:22:22

Ask to speak to a supervisor of midwives ASAP.
They should try their best to support you to get the birth you want.

Mungobungo Mon 21-Nov-16 21:31:28

Read some of the work or keep by Dianne Garland around waterbirth and raised bmi. She's been saying for years that women with raised bmi benefit greatly from the use of a birthing pool, the buoyancy of the water is beneficial for good positioning and also the relaxatiry and analgesic benefits of the warm water further reduce the risk of intervention and assisted/CS births. Once you've had a bit of a read around, then contact a supervisor of midwives (via your community midwife or through switch board at your hospital) to discuss it. You can also see if you can have a chat with the manager of delivery suite or MLU (where the pool is) to get them to review your risk factors and so that you can discuss use of the pool. Dont take a flat no for an answer. Go in armed with information and show that you're determined and know that it's beneficial for you. Good luck!

peaceloveandbiscuits Mon 21-Nov-16 21:36:35

Mungo that is very interesting, thank you!

Thanks everyone for replying. I'm concerned that the supervisor of midwives might not be interested because the consultant who was on the ward when I was giving birth last time marched in and gave my midwife a stern telling off for letting me use the pool! She did relent afterwards and congratulated me on remaining so active hmm

IEatCannibals Mon 21-Nov-16 21:39:45

I'm a supervisor of midwives and have recently helped a woman in this situation. The consultant said no which I knew would happen as it's against guidelines. But as a supervisor I don't need permission from a consultant to sort it out, so I just bypass them and carry on.

peaceloveandbiscuits Mon 21-Nov-16 21:40:39

Cannibals you are my hero! flowers don't suppose you work in Surrey?

IEatCannibals Mon 21-Nov-16 21:41:24

No sadly I don't. Good luck.

LifeLong13 Mon 21-Nov-16 22:06:51

Cannibals! You are a STAR! You sound like my consultant midwife. But luckily I had a fabulous consultant too who agreed I could labour in the water. I was high risk because of high BMI & EDS3. But it was amazing. The consultant midwife delivered my daughter (fab delivery because of her!) and we're going to co write my next birth plan because I want labour through yoga and she's always wanted to but has never had anyone willing. I LOVE IT when women come together to make amazing birth experiences. Thank you to all the amazing midwives who trust themselves and their birthing Mamas!

fourcorneredcircle Mon 21-Nov-16 22:40:00

Hello again peace ... we do keep running in to each other!

I'm glad you asked this, I was wondering the same thing. At booking in my BMI was 30.5, so above the "magic number". This thread has given me hope about a water birth (I'm a very fit swimmer normally - like a fast 2k every day - water is my happy place).

I also hope that being as my BMI is the only risk factor I'll be allowed to give birth at the midwife lead centre in the next town rather than our local hospital.

Plucking up the courage to ask about both when I see the midwife next on Wednesday.

peaceloveandbiscuits Mon 21-Nov-16 22:44:21

Four I don't think you'll have any issues with that BMI!

Palendrominca Mon 21-Nov-16 22:52:32

I hope you get the water birth you want, but if you can't for whatever reason, I would recommend a tens machine, I used one throughout my labour and found it (surprisingly) effective, added bonus of being able to use it at home from the first contraction. In fact I remember my husband suggesting he turned it off during the pushing stage and I nearly had him evicted from the room.

Good luck. smile

IEatCannibals Mon 21-Nov-16 22:57:40

Yoga in labour sounds amazing. I would want to join in!

There's no clear national guidance on BMI for pool births. Some hospitals have a cut off of 35, others 40. Some go on kg weight.

user1471446433 Mon 21-Nov-16 22:57:53

SOM's are awesome for this kind of stuff.
Although round here there is ONE birth pool so small chance it will be available which means my babies were born in water at home. High bmi & over 42 weeks (both!)

user1471446433 Mon 21-Nov-16 22:59:15

I meant to say also you can opt out of consultant led ;)

peaceloveandbiscuits Mon 21-Nov-16 23:08:29

I'm consultant-led for other reasons than BMI, no chance of getting into the lovely MLU regardless.

I don't think I'd be comfortable being anywhere other than the labour ward, certainly not at home, because DS needed a bit of resuscitation when he was born (he shot out and gave himself a shock!). I think my anxiety over the correct people/equipment being available for that would trump anxiety over birthing out of the water!

Wolfiefan Mon 21-Nov-16 23:10:49

Out of interest OP how long was your first labour?

peaceloveandbiscuits Mon 21-Nov-16 23:20:32

6 hours

ReallyTired Mon 21-Nov-16 23:33:46

I used tens with dd as she was so quick and we had no time to set up the pool. (Home birth) The other thing I would recommend is self hypnosis. There are two main brands hypnobirthing and natal hypnotherapy. If you can afford it it's well worth doing a course so that you can practice breathing.

I gave birth with no pain relief other than tens. It did hurt but the pain was bearable. The pain level was on a par with the stomach cramps you might get with a stomach bug. Giving birth the second time is often easier as your body has been stretched before.

peaceloveandbiscuits Mon 21-Nov-16 23:38:36

I fear hypnobirthing is one of those things that only works if you really believe in it, and I'm far too cynical for
my own good grin

ReallyTired Mon 21-Nov-16 23:50:31

You have to want hypnobirthing to work. There is no magic in it. Essentially it's focusing your mind on something else like a day dream rather than the pain. It takes practice and those who achieve it aren't stupid. It's almost akin to mediation.

If you are fearful and you expect pain the you will be guaranteed pain. Pain is processed entirely in the brain/ mind. I doubt it's possible to entirely eliminate pain, but you can reduce your pain threshold. Pain is a physiological response, but your pain threshold is psychological.

If you Google medical hypnosis there is interesting stuff. People have had entire operations controlling the pain with medical hypnosis.

If you are interested in hypnosis for pain control the I suggest you read up and start with something little like your next blood test.

peaceloveandbiscuits Mon 21-Nov-16 23:59:11

I didn't say it was stupid, just that I don't think it's for me. The power of belief is quite amazing.

Wolfiefan Tue 22-Nov-16 00:05:19

Ok six hours in total?!
Just a warning. My first was 10 1/2 hours. Lovely water birth.
My second. No time for water. While thing over in less than an hour!

user1471446433 Tue 22-Nov-16 00:20:43

You don't need to believe you need to practice. Hypnobabies gave me two long labour's with no pain relief despite large babies, both back to back. When pulled out of my self hypnosis (by older child!) I could feel the labour full force as pain, in hypnosis i could feel my muscles contracting & a dull ache...

peaceloveandbiscuits Tue 22-Nov-16 01:21:02

An hour sounds great Wolfie, I reckon I could stand the stinging for that long grin

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