Water birth guide
Considering a water birth and wanting to know what is a water birth and what the benefits of water birth are? Here’s what you need to know.
What is a water birth?
Water birth pros and cons
Benefits of water birth
Risks of water birth
“From my own personal experience, I don’t have a concern with women using a bath in labour. But when it comes to actually giving birth in water, we probably don’t have enough data to say that it’s a good idea and a safe thing to do,” says obstetrician Dr Bernadette White from Melbourne’s Mercy Hospital for Women. “The benefits aren’t really all that substantial, plus it makes intervention difficult if something goes wrong.”
You’ll also need to plan well in advance. While most hospitals have facilities for water immersion, not all are equipped with a birthing pool for water births. A water birth at home, if deemed medically appropriate for you, requires a special birthing pool that can fit both you and your partner (if you wish). You’ll also need a hot water system that can supply several hundred litres of warm water over a long period. Your midwife will be able to help advise on a suitable birthing pool set-up.
What if I'm still in pain?
If you decide to go for a water birth, gas and air, as well as mild pain relievers, may be administered to help with pain if your birth is taking place at a hospital or birth centre. And of course, if you’re really struggling with the pain and require an epidural, you’ll need to get out of the birthing pool and into the hands of an anaesthetist.
Speak to your medical team and consider what’s going to be safest and best for both you and your little one.