Choosing where and how you want to birth is a very personal choice. Every woman has a different set of circumstances and preferences, and it’s important to find a medical provider who you can trust and who supports your decisions. If you are thinking about going the un-medicated route and are looking at the possibility of a water birth, you might be surprised to learn a few things.
Not all hospitals provide the option for water birth. If you’d like to have a water birth, you should find a provider who supports your choice at a hospital that allows it- otherwise, if you have your heart set on it, you might want to look into a birth center or having a homebirth.
If you are having a water birth in a hospital, you may need to take a water birth course, sign a waiver, and/or pay a fee. Because research regarding water birth is still somewhat inconclusive, the waiver usually simply documents that your medical care provider has given you the necessary information and that you understand the risks and benefits.6 Things You May Not Know About Water Birth Click To Tweet
You may not want to get into the birthing tub right away. Water can actually sometimes slow down labor if you are still in the early stages. Some hospitals require that the laboring mother wait until she is 7 or 8 centimeters dilated before getting into the birthing tub. Each hospital or birth center may have their own guidelines, so be sure to ask your provider about it.
Oftentimes women experience pain relief when in the birthing tub, with the water acting as a natural epidural. Other women may not have this experience though it can calm the laboring woman and help preserve energy. It also can cause the perineum to relax, resulting in less tearing (source).
Read this article about 10 tips for an unmedicated birth.
What happens if you poop?! Yes, many women want to know the logistics of being in a birthing tub while bodily fluids and particles flow out of your body. If you happen to pass fecal matter while in labor (50% of women do), a midwife or nurse will be prepared to clean out the tub for you (usually with a small net) so that you can keep on doing your thing! Don’t be embarrassed- it’s normal and means the baby is close behind.
Many midwives claim that babies born in a birthing pool are quieter and calmer at birth than babies born outside of the water. Some theorize that this is due to a gentler transition from the womb for baby.
If you’re wondering about the difference between a doula and a midwife, check out this article.
Ultimately, like with just about any important decision in life, there are potential risks involved should you choose to have a water birth. Take your situation into account and discuss your options with a doctor or midwife that you trust. However you choose to birth your baby, a healthy and happy mama and baby is the goal so do what is right for you!