In Angus women have embraced labour and birth in water and the units have enjoyed a steady increase in the use of the pools. The majority of the women who do not give birth in the pool do use it for pain relief during their labour.
Women travel from out with the area to give birth in this relaxed and homely environment in the knowledge that midwives, experienced in caring for women in water, will support them.
Both the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of
Midwives support labouring in water for healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies.
The evidence to support underwater birth is less clear but complications are seemingly rare.
Water is a very effective means of pain relief not only for contractions but also backache and general discomfort. A heavily pregnant body feels weightless and the warmth of the water promotes relaxation, so essential for a healthy, progressive labour.
The ability to move freely and assume different positions, supported by the water, aids the descent of the baby and helps him into the optimum position for birth. We have noticed that for many women labour in water is quicker than on land.
Very few women request further analgesia (other than gas and air) when in the pool, not because they are braver or have a higher pain threshold but simply because they cope beautifully and feel in control when in the pool. This gives such a sense of achievement and pride when their baby is born.
You can choose right up to the last minute whether to have your baby in the water or not. If you choose not to you will still have benefited from the water during labour. You can simply stand up or, with our assistance, step out of the pool and on to our comfortable birth mat right next to it.
When your baby is born under the water (which will be roughly at your body temperature) he will be brought up to the surface gently by your midwife or by you (with her support) if you prefer.
His cord will be supplying him with oxygen and he will not breathe until his head feels the air. Newborn babies may be a little blue to begin with but quickly become pink in front of your eyes.
This is often the best time to breast feed your baby and the pool will keep you both warm whilst you do that.
There is no hurry to leave the pool if all is well with you and your baby and this unhurried environment gives you all time to relax and enjoy each other.
The midwives will be glad to answer any questions you have on water birth any time, just give the maternity unit a call.
Here are some comments from our visitors’ book.
“ I am so happy that I got the birth I wanted. The birthing pool was just great – I will tell everyone about it”
“ After having my last baby here when I found out number 2 was on the way I just knew I wanted the pool. It was everything I wanted it to be and is the best way to give birth. My baby was so relaxed afterwards – FANTASTIC”
“ The pool was FAB”
“The pool was great and helped me to relax this time round. Why anyone would want to have a baby anywhere else is beyond me”
“ Thank you for letting me have the water birth I wanted – it was an amazing experience”