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Waterbirth - what to expect?

(14 Posts)
lechatnoir Thu 11-Jun-09 21:27:46

I'm due tomorrow (eek) and last week swopped from hospital birth to nearby birthing centre which has a pool that I fully hope & intend to use grin.

Can anyone who has had a waterbirth give me an idea at what stage in labour I'd be getting in, positions to adopt (I have moderate SPD), how long after the birth do I stay in, what to wear, what sort or monitoring (if ay) the MW can do whilst I'm in the water? how do you & baby stay warm immediately after the birth etc. My first labour was strapped to the bed induction with heavy epidural so no real experience in a more active labour.
Thanks in advance

LCN (highly disorganised 2nd timer wink)

flockwallpaper Thu 11-Jun-09 21:38:22

I used a pool for a lot of my labour time. I had to be 5cm dilated before I was allowed in. The room was warm so I was starkers but it was only DP and the midwife. Every so often the midwife would use a mirror to see what was happening whilst I stayed in the pool, and less frequently, check the baby's heartbeat with one of those things that they hold against your tummy. I didn't have to get out of the water for it, and it wasn't intrusive. It was a relatively pleasant to labour in water, but actually it slowed my contractions down, made it too relaxing, so I had to get out and give birth on dry land. Good luck.

swissmiss Thu 11-Jun-09 21:58:35

I had DC3 in pool, wasn't allowed in until I'd had my GBS+ antibiotics. M/W put cannula in my hand and I had to wear a blue glove over it when I was in the water but tbh, I didn't care (subsequently understood that most wont let you in pool with cannula but I had a fab experienced m/w). I also had severe SPD (on crutches for 10wks) but convinced them to let me into the pool as I was able to exit the pool myself in event of emergency (was against policy to let SPD suffers into pool). She checked me before I got in, was 4+ cm, and I stayed there until babe was born, hadn't really intended to but it was such relief from the SPD pain. If this makes sense I spent most of the time, approx 2.5hrs, kneeling and leaning forward with my arms resting on the edge of the pool so I could still use the G&A. After so many weeks of agony it was bliss to be able to move without pain. Whenever she needed to use the underwater doppler I'd stretch one leg out straight behind me so m/w could reach my belly. Otherwise she left me in peace. I'm guessing she used a mirror to check my progress but I really didn't care or look behind me to check. Got out after babe was born to deliver placenta on bed, didn't fancy staying in water for that. Also gave babe chance to start feeding whilst all that was going on. I'd recommend it find it hard to believe I waited until dc3 before trying a pool.

Good Luck.

PatTheHammer Thu 11-Jun-09 22:10:46


I had both my DC's in a birthing pool at local MLU.
With my first I got in at 6cm (they like you to be over 5 I think) like Swissmiss I mainly did kneeling and hanging over the side to have G&A, rocking with contractions and holding onto the handles.
wore a bra (both times), not much point in anything else! She did the underwater doppler thing for monitoring and then a mirror when things got interesting. I was in for 4.5 hours and stayed in for a while after baby (cuddling etc and waiting for cord to stop pulsating). I attempted 3rd stage in water but LOTS of blood so got out and BF DD and placenta came out fine.
The water is very warm so this keeps you and baby warm (plus birthing units are HOT full-stop!)
With second, very different as I arrived at MLU almost fully dilated and demanded they fill up the pool. Through clothes off and jumped in and was in there for 20mins max from start to finish shock. Used same position though and just put my leg up at the end for pushing, felt natural and he was out in 2 pushes.

Oh, has someone warned you about poo???? Can get a bit messy in there and those nets are a bit pointless. Big colander type thing is whats needed!

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Thu 11-Jun-09 22:12:53

Hi there,
I gave birth to both my boys in birthing pools (photo's on profile)
for me I loved the feeling of being in the water, with DS1 I had been in labour for a long time and it just felt like I could relax through the contractions for the first time in 30 hours.
I wasn't allowed to get in until we were passed 5cm.
For me I loved being able to move freely wriggling side to side almost like a snake to ease the contractions.
The midwives both times were very hands off, checking heartrate every 20 minus (I think) but I did't need to get out of the pool.

For stage 2 I braced my legs against one side of the pool and my shoulders against the other, and that really helped me, but I have no idea how that would work with SPD.
to deliver the boys I leaned forward gently holding the head that was already out and pulling slightly with the next contraction, they both (2.5 years apart!!!) came swiftly up into my arms.

We waited in the pool for the placenta to be delivered and got out when we were ready, 10 mins or so. the water was warm enough to keep him warm.

Both births were very different but truley lovely. GOOD LUCK!!

Cazzr Thu 11-Jun-09 22:25:38

I had a slightly different experience. When I was induced I was aparently contracting every 2 mins, but couldn't feel it. After 2 lots of the gel the contractions gradually got a lot more painful, so they moved me to the labour room with the pool (which I had wanted to use). They checked me and I had not dialated at all or 'softened' but they allowed me into the pool to help with the pain.

4 hours later, with no pain relief, I gave birth to my whopper son (9lb 3) in the water.

Upon getting into the warm pool, I immediately relaxed and I believe this is what kick started things to start dialating..

I too had SPD in pregnancy and a knee injury so birth positions like kneeling would have been tricky. The pool enabled me to be comfortable enough through labour. So much so the midwife had thought I would take a lot longer than I did and was most surprised when the urges to push began. This was the only time she checked me for dialation (in the pool) to find me ready to go! The rest of the time, checking was simply using the machine to check the heartbeat (a waterproof one).

As for positions in the pool, it's up to you how you labour, I found lying/floating on my left hand side, head resting on the side most comfortable. I dabbled with other positions but it very quickly became obvious there was only one position for me.

For the pushing stage, I was standard 'on my back' position holding my knees, but this was ok with the spd as there was no pressure on my pelvis as this part was floating.
I can't quite remember how I wasn't sinking (OH can't remember either) but think my back was resting on the built in seat thing, with the back of my neck resting on the side of the pool (if that makes sense...)

I remember the midwife trying to get me to keep myself near the surface (god knows how she expected me to).. Either cos she wanted to see what was happening or was worried the baby would drown or something... I knew this would be ok tho as I had seen waterbirths on the telly and knew that was not an issue during the birth.
I had thought it was best to keep baby on your chest in the water a bit to keep warm too but remember the midwife getting me to keep him out of the water... whether she was not very experienced or thought the water a bit too cool by the point I'll never know.
Son was then checked, wrapped up and handed to other half whilst I was helped out of the pool to deliver placenta on the bed and await stitching... shock

As for what to wear, I'd had my nightie on before getting in but when I was allowed to get in, that was whipped off quick smart and I hopped in nekkid! I didn't care one bit as it was only OH, midwife around and the comfort was more important at that stage... I do remember a woman coming in offering sandwiches and jelly at one point! LOL. But like I said, I didn't care at that stage.. blush

Definitely planning a water birth next time.. Just umming and ahhing about whether to go for HB or local birthing centre.. Might take a shirt to wear in the pool to maintain a BIT more dignity next time but it'd probably annoy me and end up coming off anyway! DEFINITELY want a waterbirth either way.

Ooo scary long essay I have written here... Sorry, when the birth story starts coming out I can't stop!

philopastry Thu 11-Jun-09 22:27:01

Another vote for water births here - I had both of my DS's in pool at the local hospital - got in at 7 cm first time and 5 cm second time - stayed in until bambinos delivered (also did the placenta bit on dry land), took advantage of the G & A, knelt up first time and hung over the side and it was a much easier labour then second time when I somehow ended up lying on my back in the pool guzzling the G & A a little too enthusiastically and no-one reminded me to get upright so it made for hard work pushing 'uphill'. The only thing I didn't like about water births was the point at which I had to take the TENS machine off to get in - OUch!

I didn't wear anything either time - it felt quite private being in the pool with the main action taking place under the water and there was only MW and DH in the room anyway.

Good Luck!

swissmiss Thu 11-Jun-09 22:33:43

Forgot to mention - ended up wearing just my bra, not intentionally, just what happened, mind you I did bin it after as I couldn't get the bloodstains out. Like Cazzr I was beyond caring by then, was kinda into myself if that makes sense, didn't even realise that the m/w had put on a waterproof gown type thingy or notice if anyone had come into the room.

Slightly OT, when I sent some post delivery, babe in my arms, pics to my brother, my niece (3) asked SIL why I was wearing my bra in the bath to which her bro (6) replied "so the drs can see aunty swissmiss' boobies!" Bless him.

Cazzr Thu 11-Jun-09 22:39:47

Heh I guess wearing nothing in the pool did save on the washing! grin

Having a shower afterwards was weird tho as I had just got out of a 4 hour bath! Major pruning to the fingers and toes!

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Thu 11-Jun-09 22:41:07

grin Cazzr I got out of the pool and into the bath and washed my hair as it had been wet and skanky for hours.. I had never been so wrinkly in my life smile

Cazzr Thu 11-Jun-09 22:54:21

LOL, I did need the shower as it happens, tho I remember being very nervous doing as the midwife had instructed and giving 'down there' a good hosing with the shower!
After a 2nd deg tear, approx 25 stitches (by a very rough consultant I might add), things were certainly a bit delicate, 'another' bath would probably have been more gentle.
Incidently, I got to try the g&a for the stitches and will be insisting on it for during the next labour!

swissmiss Thu 11-Jun-09 23:04:23

Def worth giving the G&A a go. IME x3 it's all in the timing though, no use inhaling during the middle of a contraction as by the time it works it's too late. Start as soon as you feel the ctrx start then you should be ok. It did make me feel a bit sick but I never actually had to throw up and in comparison to being in pain......

(blush if you knew that already)

Cazzr Thu 11-Jun-09 23:07:53

heh, I managed to throw up without any pain relief during labour so if I'm going to anyway I might as well dabble with the drugs! LOL

Thanks for the tip, will remember for next time! *soooo broody right now*

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Fri 12-Jun-09 12:27:37

I threw up all through labour (and whilst in the pool) probably why I needed a bath so much!
I too had gas and air for my stitches first time and intended to use it more 2nd time for the labour, but didn't get chance really as with DS2 we went from high up, wrong way round and 5 cm to out in an hour. Did remember to ask for it for my stitches again. smile

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