Pros & cons of water birth

(19 Posts)
Ksi91 Mon 21-Dec-20 12:56:07

Currently 32 weeks pregnant & the last week or so I've been thinking about my birth plan
I suffer PGP & spend every night in the bath to help with the pains - it does take the edge off massively

One of my co-workers mentioned I'd probably benefit from a water birth
I only have small knowledge of water births from tv programmes such as one born every minute

I'm low risk in my pregnancy so I can go to my local hospital , which is a 10 minute walk from my house
I've read on the website that epidurals are not available at the hospital neither , this was something I was also thinking of

What are the pros & cons of water birth ?

OP’s posts: |
Snackasaurus Mon 21-Dec-20 13:07:29

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I'm 35 weeks and also debating a water birth but haven't made my mind up yet so I'm going to be a bit cheeky and follow this thread! fgrin

Worriedandabitscared Mon 21-Dec-20 13:08:57


Congratulations on your pregnancy! I'm 35 weeks and also debating a water birth but haven't made my mind up yet so I'm going to be a bit cheeky and follow this thread! fgrin

Same! Sorry, 34 weeks and have the same ideas as you ladies

ThePrimeOfLime Mon 21-Dec-20 13:13:16

Great pain relief if you labour reasonably quickly (less than 12 hours although there usnt a time limit!). You can have gas & air too. Any complications such as raised blood pressure, high temperature, meconium, fetal heart concerns etc and you have to exit the pool. You cant have morphine in the pool either. Local evidence at our unit is there are increased 3rd and 4th degree tears for first time mums but that isnt the case nationally. They can be lovely calm labour and birth experiences when they go well. Always best to have an open mind with birth as you cant plan it....just know your options and preferences for all eventualities. Investigate what happens if you find you need/want to change your plans for pain relief. Also check how often the pool is available and if staff are still willing to do pool births in view of Covid, most are, but some aren't willing to take the risk. Best of luck

Thatwentbadly Mon 21-Dec-20 13:17:03

I really wanted a water birth with my first but the pool wasn’t available.

With my second I was high risk so the staff would only agree to BAME labouring in the pool. The pain relief was amazing. I have an underwater light and with the gas and air I convinced myself I was at a pool party. My second labour was intense, contacting for 3 mins with 1 min break in between and the pool made such a difference.

DreadingSeason2020sFinale Mon 21-Dec-20 13:17:05

I've had two dry land births and one in water and I will forever kick myself for not having all waterbirths!
First was agony from start to finish. Went by the book but I barely remember any of it except that it was painful (sorry)
Second was much the same but thankfully half the time.
Third was the same as the other two pain wise until I knelt down in that wonderful birthing pool. The pain immediately halved and I was far more lucid than the other two. Again this birth halved in time so was quicker but I felt more in control. He even slipped out much easier with no "grazes" to my bits. My only regret is not going ahead and catching him myself which would have been even cooler.

However, all births are different for different women. My experience is just mine. Others find their contractions slow in water, or it doesn't help the pain, or they just hate it in general.

You can try it and see what you think. If you don't like it, all you need to do is get back out.

Good luck and congratulations.

Snackasaurus Mon 21-Dec-20 13:17:44

@Worriedandabitscared Not long now! fgrin How has your pregnancy been so far? smile


Thatwentbadly Mon 21-Dec-20 13:17:54

Remember you can get in the pool and if you don’t like it then get out.

Hemlock2013 Mon 21-Dec-20 13:32:59

My second was a water birth. It was lovely. No cons. I did catch him and it was amazing, I was the first person to touch my baby in the whole world. Love saying that!

If for whatever reason you need to get out, you can. I don’t think a change in plan is necessarily a con... x

ChateauMargaux Mon 21-Dec-20 13:43:51

It is great to labour in the bath. Some midwives prefer labour to be established before you get in and if things don't seem to be progressing for you to get out and walk around for a bit. Stay mobile and have your birth partner run your back in the bath while making sure you don't get cold by pouring warm water over your back and shoulders. Midwives should be able to listen to the baby in the bath with a doppler so you don't have to get out. Babies born in the bath are often very calm. Remember that they receive their oxygen through the umbilical cord so there is no rush during the pushing stage.

Ksi91 Mon 21-Dec-20 14:04:38

@Snackasaurus @Worriedandabitscared
Congratulations ladies ☺️

OP’s posts: |
Ksi91 Mon 21-Dec-20 14:05:15

Thank you for the stories & advice ladies

I think I'll opt for a water birth if I can , when do I need to inform my midwife of my plan ?

OP’s posts: |
SinkGirl Mon 21-Dec-20 14:19:16

Check out what’s available where you are as this varies a lot. There are generally four types of places to give birth:
- An obstetric ward, with midwives, obstetricians and anaesthetists who can administer epidurals. Some of these wards have birthing pools in one or two of the rooms (sometimes more), but many don’t. You’ll be able to access the full range of pain relief, plus if things go awry the obstetricians are there, access to theatre etc. The cons are that sometimes the rooms are small, so not as much space to move around, use a birthing ball etc.

- Alongside Midwife led units - these are Midwife led units on the same site as the obstetric unit, sometimes down a corridor. These often have birthing pools in most rooms, more space, birthing balls etc. You can access gas and air and in some you can have pethidine injections. If something goes wrong or you decide you want an epidural, this is easily done by moving you to the labour ward so no need to worry about transfers. Cons are fewer pain relief options without moving to the labour ward, and they have criteria on who can use them, so if you have particular complications or history with caesareans you may not be allowed to use them - worth asking specifically what their criteria are.

- Stand-alone Midwife led units - similar to above but on a different site to the hospital. Much the same as a home birth, except often have much tighter restrictions on who can use them than homebirths (because they can’t refuse you a home birth but there are insurance issues with standalone Midwife led units and they are very cautious). Often a very lovely environment to give birth in, but you have to consider the risk of transfer and how long this would take. If you decide you want an epidural you would be waiting a while since they’d have to transfer you via ambulance and then you’d have to wait for the anaesthetist - I do know of women who’ve transferred to hospital for an epidural and then not got one before they give birth. Obviously limited pain relief options as above

- Home birth - much like a stand-alone MLU except being at home obviously!

Personally I had severe tokophobia and the only vaginal birth I could even consider is a water birth, but knowing I may have to get out of things didn’t go to plan etc meant I couldn’t consider it. Plus I was having twins so they’d want to put an epidural in anyway in case of caesarean or instrumental delivery being needed (not a requirement but strongly advised). I ended up having a caesarean. If I could guarantee I could do the whole thing in the pool I would have wanted to do that but obviously it doesn’t work that way. So there’s lots of things to consider.

I have endometriosis and adenomyosis and baths help the pain so much so I am sure it would make a big difference.

Thatwentbadly Mon 21-Dec-20 14:53:51

When you ring up the unit to say you are going in then tell them you want to use a birthing pool if they have one available.

Thatwentbadly Mon 21-Dec-20 14:54:38

I also really recommend the positive birth company book and the positive birth hypnobirthing. They are not link to each other in any way but they are both really good.

firstimemamma Mon 21-Dec-20 15:00:06

I had a water birth and it was brilliant!

Being in the water helped but they make you give birth to the placenta 'on dry land' and it took longer to push out the placenta than it did the baby! Obviously this won't necessarily be your version of events but it's a possibility. I had this idea in my head that the placenta would just fall out effortlessly and wish someone had warned me!

Another thing I wish I'd known is they couldn't make the water any hotter than 37degrees.

Good luck!

JChina Mon 21-Dec-20 19:09:16

I really really liked having a water birth, the main pros for me were ability to move around freely, feeling calm and supported by the water, and sort of being able to forget I was in a hospital environment and being in the zone.

BUT I would say that the main downside is the midwife not being able to see what is going on quite so clearly and not being able to help minimise any tearing. My DS was big (for me) and in an awkward position and I think I tore more because she couldn't reduce the pressure on the area or advise small pushes etc. That said I'm not sure I'd have got him out at all without ventouse or forceps had we been on dry land, as the position I needed to be in to get him out (all fours) would probably have been too uncomfortable for such a long time pushing without the support of the water- so who knows!

Just my perspective in terms of the cons!

Highheels87 Mon 21-Dec-20 21:26:31

I would definitely recommend a water birth if you’re able to and the pool is available. It was the best experience compared to having had my first lying on my back. I would love another this time and keeping fingers crossed I am able to and the pool is free! I love the relief water brings so if anyone needs me I’ll be sitting in the bath at home until I head into hospital 😂 you could always put it onto your birth plan and see how you feel when the time comes

Welshmumma92 Mon 21-Dec-20 22:45:27

Amazing. So relaxing. I had my labour playlist playing through the speakers of the pool. Fairy lights in the room. Would definitely have a water birth again and would 100% reccomend it to anyone who is considering it.

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