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Do you do water births? Why would I want a water birth? Is water birth safe? What are the benefits of water birth? What supplies do I need?
Yes, I do. I love water births. All the pictures on this page are from just a few of the lovely water births I have done.
For some people, the answer is why not. In the studies done and by anecdotal evidence, it has been found that water birth can contribute to:
- Less pain and higher satisfaction with the birth experience
- Possible shorter labors
- Higher rates of normal vaginal birth
- Lower rates of episiotomy
- Higher rates of intact perineum
- Possible lower rates of severe tears (3rd or 4th degree)
- Possible lower rates of postpartum hemorrhage
Some people feel that it can help ease the newborns transition into life, but studies are inconclusive as to any real health benefits.
Is Water Birth Safe?
Evidenced Based Birth recently updated their information about water birth. They have compiled information from randomized trials, observational case studies, and the statistics from the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project on water birth. Their website has a lot of great information. The studies include possible pros and cons for the mother including:
- Normal Vaginal Birth
- Perineal Tears/Trauma
- Pain/Need for Pain Relief
- Length of Labor
- Postpartum Blood Loss
- Upright Birth Positioning
- Hands-off Delivery
- Maternal Satisfaction
- Pelvic Floor Function
- Maternal Transfers to Hospital and Hospitalizations
- Maternal Infection
And the possible pros and cons for the baby:
- Newborn Death
- Apgar Scores
- Breathing Difficult
- NICU or Special Care Nursery Admissions
- Newborn Transfers to Hospital and Hospitalizations
- Umbilical Cord pH
- Shoulder Dystocia
- Newborn Infections
- Group B Strep
- Newborn Microbiome
- Umbilical Cord Tears
- Newborn Resuscitation
- Newborn Hypothermia
The evidence shows NO increase in newborn deaths or other bad health outcomes including NICU stays, low Apgar scores, breathing difficulty, need for resuscitation, infections. Their conclusion was that there is no reason to deny low risk women an opportunity to birth in water as long as care providers with experience are on hand.
The Texas Department of State Health Services devised guidelines water birth to insure neonatal safety. Their Infection Prevention Guide is found here.
What Supplies Do I Need?
If you have a garden tub or other larger bathtub, you can use that. A standard size is usually not deep enough to get the pain relief that you want. It also makes for very cramped quarters. If you do not have a bathtub or have a smaller one, there are many options to explore.
I personally own and rent out the Birth Pool in the Box to my clients. It is the blue pool pictured on the right. I own the regular size which is great if you are tall. I think the mini is a better option as I get more clients that are short like me. It has handles all over it for those that need something to grip onto. It has a seat, but I rarely see that get used. It even has a cupholder.
Buoyant Birth is a local company that sells and rents birth pools in the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex. They offer a lot of different options. I believe that they also ship outside of the area too. Some people are looking for a cheaper option. A blow up kiddie pool can be used instead of a fancy birth pool. You have to be very careful to get one with the right dimensions. In winter months, it is harder to find one because most places do not keep them in stock. This one on Amazon is the one that I prefer.
If you are renting a pool, hope to reuse the kiddie pool, or are just concerned that you can’t bleach your tub well enough, you will need to purchase a one time use pool liner. You will need a hose. It needs to be brand new. Mold grows very easily in rubber hoses that have been sitting out. You don’t want the bacteria from it getting into your birth water. An air pump is necessary for blowing up the inflatable pools. A drain pump is handy for emptying the pool. Before I got mine, some dads would syphon the water out with the hose. Others just use buckets to drain it. A small goldfish net is nice to have on hand in case you poop in the water. If you are renting your pool, find out what, if any of these accessories are included in the price of your rental. Accessories can be purchased at most birth supply companies. I get mine from In His Hands.
You will need to test out your set up ahead of time. The hose can be attached to a kitchen faucet, a washer hook up, or a shower after the shower head has been removed. You do not want to use a water heater as sediment lies in the bottom and will make your birth water nasty. An outside hookup will not offer the heating option that you need. You want to make sure that your hose will reach where you intend to put the pool. You may need a hose adapter to attach your hose to your sink or shower. I provide one to my clients, but not all faucets are built alike.
Do you have any questions that I missed? Are you interested in a water birth? If so, contact us for more information.
Want more info on how to have a healthier pregnancy? Check out my list of nutrition tips by clicking the link below.