An increasing number of women are choosing to spend at least some of their labour immersed in water. Birthing pools are increasingly being more used in hospitals in Barcelona but just for dilation, and some women even choose to hire birthing pools for use at home, because is the only way you can give birth inside.
What different positions can I be in, in a birthing pool?
You could think about trying different positions before giving birth in water, such as:
- Kneeling, leaning on the side of the pool.
- Squatting, holding onto the sides of the pool.
- Using floats under your arms for support.
- Floating on your back with your hands holding the sides, while your head is supported on a waterproof pillow.
- Floating on your tummy with your head turned sideways, resting on a pillow.
When might I need to get out of the pool?
Sometimes you may be asked to leave the pool during labour.
- Changes in the baby’s heart rate
- Meconium (baby’s poo) staining your waters;
- Bleeding from your vagina during labour
- If you develop a high temperature, pulse or blood pressure
- You may also be asked to leave the pool for abdominal palpation and for vaginal examinations (to assess progress in labour).
If your labour slows down after about two hours, it may be wise to leave the pool – you can get in again later. You may choose to stay in to give birth, or find, as many women do, that dry land suits you better when the moment arrives. You will probably get out of the pool for the delivery of the placenta. When you get out, you need to be wrapped in a warm towel or a soft warm robe. If you are wearing a T-shirt in the water, it’s best to take it off while you are out so as not to cool down too much.
- Warm water can provide relief from the discomfort of labour, and may even be used instead of medical pain relief.
- It doesn’t prevent the use of other medicines, you would still be able to use certain forms of pain relief in the pool. Speak to your healthcare provider to find out more.
- Water can have a calming effect, allowing you to relax during labour which can help labour to progress.
- Water can support your weight, meaning that you may find yourself free from some aches and pains of late pregnancy.
- Water can support your weight, leaving you better able to change position and stay upright.
- The pool around you can help you to feel more private and protected.
- Giving birth in water is thought to reduce the risk of vaginal tearing.
- There are some forms of pain relief that are not compatible with the pool, so you may need to abandon the birthing pool if you want to use one of those pain relief options.
- If you get into the pool before labour is underway, there are concerns that you could slow down the onset of labour.
- Birthing pools are not available in all birthing units, you will need to check with your healthcare provider whether you will be able to have one on the day .
- If you are planning a homebirth, you will need to hire a pool yourself which you will need to budget for.
- Not all women experience the pain relieving benefits of water, some simply feel disappointed when they get into the pool.