Our Water Birth Decision
My husband, Steve, and I had discussed the many different aspects regarding a home birth and wanted to further investigate the possibility of a water birth. Neither one of us really had any clue as to the pros and cons regarding such a choice. We decided to send away for more information and then decided to go to a water birth study day to find out more about it all.We drove to London and took part in a full day workshop on water birth. It seemed as if most of the people there were midwives, but there were several other couples there too. We spent the day listening to lectures and watching videos on water birth. Steve and I were very impressed by the way the babies reacted to being born. It was so different than what you see and hear about births in a hospital setting. The child is born underwater, if that is what the mother wants, and is very alert and, for most instances, not crying. For those of you who are a little squeamish about the underwater part, studies show that the baby will continue to get oxygen through the placenta until the face touches the air at the water’s surface. Until that point, the baby won’t attempt to take a breath of air. The water temperature in the pool is similar to the mother’s body temperature so there is not the major shock of coming out of a warm environment into a chilling environment. It all seemed very gentle and kind to the child. We felt that an introduction to the world like this would be a definite advantage for our child.
Besides the benefits that we saw for the child, there was also the benefit for the mother too. For me, a major plus was the pain relief that you can benefit from. Depending on the person, it can range from a 50% to about an 80% reduction in the amount of pain. And after all, that was one of my fears! I couldn’t let something like this pass me by. Another plus was the fact that I could rent a pool and set if up in my home. The idea of “doing it my way” in my own setting was immensely appealing. Just think about how relaxing a warm bath can be when you have had a rough day, or if you have aching muscles. The water in the pool helps the mother relax and helps to release the natural endorphins in the body. The more relaxed you are, the better you are at handling the pain. Tense muscles will only make the labor more painful and probably longer. We will have to see how I react to it!
Steve and I picked up the pool last weekend and also had a visit with the homeopath. Steve, bless his soul, lugged all the stuff in and out of the car. The whole kit came with padding, liners, fiberglass sides, and various other necessities. We set it up the next day and were surprised at how big 4 foot by 6 foot really was! It took up most of our dining room (as you can see from the picture). We did a trial run to see how long it would take to fill that same night. At the water birth workshop, they said it could take about 4 hours to fill! Luckily for us, it only took about an hour and a half to fill to the right temperature. We did run out of hot water in the middle, but it seems as if our water heater replenishes itself fairly quickly. And of course, we both had to try it out! We lit the candles, turned out the lights, and climbed in. It was really amazing the amount of space that was in there! If you put your butt on the bottom, the water came up to just above your shoulders. I could see how this thing could lead to an easier labor. I didn’t want to get out! But alas, we had to see how long it would take to empty this monster. The kit came with a submergible pump and a hose to empty the water into the drain outside. Once all set up, I think it took only about 10-12 minutes to empty! And the force of the water outside managed to put quite a dent into the dirt by the drain! The pool sat ready until the day I went into labor. I did have my baby, Jennifer Nicole, in the pool. It was definitely an experience I would recommend everyone.
- Active Birth – Well-researched and clearly written, this book includes yoga-based exercises for pregnancy, massage for pregnancy and labor, labor and birth positions for hospital, home, and water birth, postpartum exercises, and advice for partners and birth attendants.
- Water Birth
- Gentle Birth Choices : A Guide to Making Informed Decisions About Birthing Centers, Birth Attendants, Water Birth, Home Birth, Hospital Birth
- Giving birth underwater
- Active Birth Centre
- All About Waterbirth and Water Babies: The Water Birth Website
Important Addresses for Water Birth Information
Waterbirth International, a project of Global Maternal/Child Health Association
Barbara Harper, RN
P. O. Box 1400
Wilsonville, OR 97070
Information about this company can also be found at:
This Internet Address
The only non-profit source of water birth information and referrals to practitioners throughout the US and around the world. We provide books, videos, tubs for rental or purchase, free water birth information, hospital liaison work, workshops and consultations. Professionals benefit from films, seminars, inservice trainings, water proof dopplers, portable and permanent tub designs for hospitals
Judith Elaine Halek, Director
309 W. 109th St. Suite 6D
NYC, NY 10025
The largest Water Birth Resource website on the internet with listings of books, tapes, articles, bibliography and links. East Coast Resource Center for USA on facilities and caregivers supporting water immersion and birth. Extensive photography for labor/birth underwater. Disseminating information since 1987. Tub comparisons, links to purchase and rentals. Latest articles and materials related to water birth.
Point of View Productions
2477 Flosom Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tel: (415) 821-0435
Information about this list can also be found at:
This Internet Address
For a comprehensive resource list of midwives, doctors and birth centres throughout the USA, Canada, and internationally, and also to obtain the video Water Baby by Karil Daniels, write to: Karil Daniels
|Active Birth Centre
55 Dartmouth Park Road
Tel: 071 267 3006
Fax: 071 267 5368
Splashdown Water Birth Services
Information about this site can be found at: This Internet Address
4E Brent Mill Trading Estate
Tel: 01364 72802
Elsie Inglis Birth Pool