Water birth facts
09:43 (GMT+2), Thu, 27 September 2012
If you’re considering a water birth, it’s important to find a midwife in your area who specialises in home- and water births.
Ask your gynaecologist if he/she can recommend a good midwife in the area or find a birthing centre close to you. They usually have a list of independent midwifes who are affiliated with the centre, and they’ll be happy to recommend someone to you.
Next, you’ll need to decide where you’d like to give birth. You can have a water birth either at home or in a birthing centre that specialises in water births. Most active birth centres are equipped with facilities to take care of emergencies that might occur during the birthing process.
If you’ve found a midwife or doula, ask her whether you have to provide your own emergency equipment like an oxygen cylinder, etc. She will, however, give you a list of things you’ll need for the birth.
Giving birth at home
If you have your heart set on a water birth at home, it’s very important to find a midwife first. Once your midwife has your medical history, she can advise you on a back-up plan in case of an emergency. She might suggest that you have your monthly check-ups with an obstetrician at a nearby hospital, and get him on the team for your homebirth.
Hiring a birthing pool
Your midwife will determine whether your bath at home is big enough to give birth in or if you’ll need to hire a birthing pool and where you can hire one from. In fact, you can usually hire this type of equipment through your midwife.
Will my gynaecologist come to my home for my water birth?
Most gynaecologists and doctors don’t offer this kind of service as it’s too time consuming to come to a patient’s home. Don’t let this worry you, as your midwife stays in touch with your ‘back-up’ doctor throughout the birthing process.
I’m in labour, now what?
As soon as you go in to labour, call your midwife immediately. She will examine you and your baby’s progress to determine your stage of labour.
When should I get into the birthing pool?
You can use the birthing pool whenever you want to, but if you choose to get into the water too early before your contractions are strong and close together, the water may relax you too much or stop delay labour.
If you get into the birthing pool too early, you might be exhausted from being in warm water for so long by the time you have to start pushing.
First-time moms are advised to only get into the bath when they’re almost fully dilated and second or third time moms can get into the bath when they are about 8cm dilated as pushing tends to be quicker with the second or third child. But, each situation is unique.
Do I have to stay in the birthing pool?
You can get in and out of the birthing pool as you please. Free movement will, however, also depend on whether there are any complications that can lead to an infection, but your midwife will monitor the situation and let you know when it’s best for you not to get out of the pool.
Birthing pool basics
- The birthing pool or bath is filled with ordinary warm water, and then salt is added to the water. The amount of salt you add depends on the size of the bath. The salt is added to minimise the risk of infection for your baby.
- The temperature of the water in the birthing pool should be kept at about 37 degrees. The water should not be warmer than 38 degrees as this can lead to an increase in your body temperature.
To find a midwife or doula in your area, and for details and prices on hiring birth equipment click here
. waterbirth, homebirth, labour, Xanet van Vuuren