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Delivery in water


Why is a water birth so effective and beneficial?

Giving birth in water can help to make your labour shorter, easier and more comfortable. It increases your sense of privacy and helps to make your baby's entry to the world gentle and free from trauma.



The benefits of labour and birth in water are well known.

  • Here are some facts:

    • During your labour relaxing in a deep pool of warm water can be a wonderful aid. It's worth hiring a pool mainly for this reason.
    • Using a birth pool can help you to effectively manage pain in labour and considerably reduce your need for medical pain relief. Authoritative trials have shown that fewer epidurals are needed when women use a water birth pool.
    • You're supported by the buoyancy of the water. You can relax easily and more deeply. This helps you to cope with contractions and rest more comfortably in between them. By saving energy you're less likely to become tired or exhausted.
    • It's easier for you to use upright or squatting positions in water than it is on land. You can move freely from one position to another as you explore what works best for you.
    • You're likely to have an increased feeling of privacy and security in the pool.
    • If you enter the pool at the right time (5-6cms dilation) you can expect a short term boost in the secretion of the hormone oxytocin. This will stimulate strong contractions.
    • The 'oxytocin wave' when you enter the pool in strong labour lasts for approximately two hours. You are likely to dilate rapidly during this time.

    Your baby will benefit whether he or she is born in the pool or on land.
    Whatever your reasons for wanting to use water for your baby's birth, it is important once you have made the necessary arrangements, that you let go of all your expectations and allow yourself to approach the experience with an open mind. Some women feel at their best when they are in water and, understandably, want to share this feeling with their baby in the first few moments after birth. However, while this might turn out to be appropriate, it is impossible to predict how you will feel or what you will need when the time comes. Try not to fall into the trap of setting up a fantasy of the perfect water birth and then feeling obliged to live up to it!
    Very often, mothers who were determined to give birth in water end up on dry land, while others who had not intention of giving birth in water find themselves unexpectedly in the pool. Be prepared for the possibility that the pool may remain unused on the day even if you have gone to considerable trouble and expense to get one.

    Your baby's birth should not become an athletic event in which you are under pressure to succeed. Allow yourself the freedom to choose water as one of the options available to you if it seems appropriate at the time. This attitude may be easiest to achieve in a setting where a pool is always available.
    Sometimes women feel pressured by other people to use water during the birth. Perhaps, for example, in the father's or midwife's fantasy, birth in water represents the ultimate way to be born. If anyone around you has definite needs or wishes concerning the birth, these should be discussed in advance so that you and your baby are not confined by someone else's expectations.

    For many women, being out of the water and grounded is an absolutely essential prerequisite to giving birth.
    A water pool can be the factor which helps you to overcome your inhibitions and prevents the need for intervention. However, sometimes water is insufficient and other help may be needed.

    Water introduces a powerful new dimension and additional medium to help you experience your labour and birth fully. It encourages deep relaxation and the meditative and emotional aspects of giving birth are enhanced. However, it is your desire and ability to accept reality and to flow with whatever happens during your labour that is crucial.

    After your birth, as you learn to love and cherish the blessing of your new baby, you will then be able to look back at what happened with feelings of acceptance and gratitude, whatever occurs on the day.