Our Waterbirth Decision

By Vickie Barnes

My husband, Steve, and I discussed the many different aspects regarding home birth and wanted to investigate the possibility of water birth further. Neither one of us had any clue as to the pros and cons regarding such a choice. We decided to send away for more information and then 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 several other couples were 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, in 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. Hence, there is no 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 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 it up in my home. The idea of “doing it my way” in my setting was immensely appealing. Just think about how relaxing a warm bath can be when you have had a rough day or 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!

Filled waterbirth pool

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).

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 ran out of hot water in the middle, but it seems our water heater replenishes itself reasonably quickly.

We lit the candles, turned out the lights, and climbed in. It was 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 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 submersible 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 to everyone.

Recommended Reading about Water Birth