water birth
December 22, 2003 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Water birth is an alternative to standard hospital labor where the woman gives birth in a pool of water. Many hospitals/birth centers now offer the option of a water birth, or the mother-to-be can choose from a wide variety of birthing pools for labor at home, usually assisted by a midwife/nurse with experience in waterbirth. There are many benefits of a gentle introduction to the world by being born in water, and the testimonials make it sound like a great option. Note: some links may be NSFW. [more inside]
posted by widdershins (17 comments total)
My girlfriend and I recently watched the excellent documentary Water Babies and are seriously considering water birth for the future. Are there any MeFites who have done this?
posted by widdershins at 11:18 AM on December 22, 2003

Had a friend whose wife used water birth. The child, a boy, later became a lifeguard at Jones Beach till he turned 38.
posted by Postroad at 11:24 AM on December 22, 2003

A friend of mine gave birth to both of her children at home with a pool, and wrote about the experience on her site, if you want to read the stories (scroll down).
posted by mdn at 11:50 AM on December 22, 2003

sorry, it's a frames site - click on "news" and scroll down.
posted by mdn at 11:51 AM on December 22, 2003

I slept through an ex-flatmate's water birth. She had a pool, a mid-wife, and I was one of her support people. Presumably if I can sleep soundly in the next room the birth must have been quick and easy. Or something.
posted by malpractice at 12:43 PM on December 22, 2003

I wonder if Norman Casserly did water birth? [.mp3 link]

My wife crawled into the tub at the birth center, and it seemed to help things along, then the midwife started asking me about my digital camera, and it broke the mood, and we had to try some other stuff. One of the great things about birth centers are the array of options. Especially during that first labor, you never know what is going to feel right until you are right there.
posted by bendybendy at 12:48 PM on December 22, 2003

Waterbirth or no, I'd like the mother of my (potential) kids to be in or very near a hospital in case anything happens.
posted by callmejay at 1:10 PM on December 22, 2003

Thanks for the timely and relevant link. My wife and I are in the market for a birthing method as our meter is running for an early summer baby. Easy, gentle and calming are all very, very good terms to hear when considering a birthing method.
posted by fenriq at 1:48 PM on December 22, 2003

mdn, thank you - very detailed and cool accounts of your friend's births, and it all pretty much jived with what I've been reading.

I agree that it's important to be in close proximity to a hospital, especially for your first birth. Most birth centers are affiliated with and very close to a major hospital, so that might be the way we go. Though I really like the idea of giving birth at home.

fenriq, you might want to check out the video I mentioned above. Very informative and reassuring. Except for those shots of the vagina being stretched to unimaginable proportions, but that's pretty much unavoidable, I guess... ;)
posted by widdershins at 2:13 PM on December 22, 2003

Are there any MeFites who have done this?

If you count sorta-kinda-being-born-that-way, then yes I have done this!

My wife crawled into the tub at the birth center, and it seemed to help things along

My mother has told me that she was in non-productive labor (I know there's a more technical term, but basically she was having contractions but no forward progress toward delivery) with all three of her children until she took a shower with me and got into the tub with my younger siblings after which things progressed very quickly and she took no meds at all. Of course she's also a maternity nurse and really bloody stubborn so that might be part of that latter bit. In any event, it really does seem to do the trick with some women, I'll be asking for it when/if that time comes for me!
posted by nelleish at 4:06 PM on December 22, 2003

my wife, who is no fan of submersion, looked at the midwife like she was an insane cucumber when a water birth was suggested. nevertheless, as the midwife had a new birthing tub she was itching to break in, Yours Truly spent the first half of labor putting together the tub in the bedroom, then spent the afternoon of the next day taking it down again, unused.

i hear it's a good option for non-hydrophobes, tho.
posted by hob at 5:22 PM on December 22, 2003

It was one of the options available at the hospital where I had my son...but, they'll only allow certain low risk pregnancies to use that method. If you have real painkillers, or if there's any risk to the labor that requires machine monitoring, or you're induced, then you won't be a candidate for water labor. I really wanted to give it a try...but then the labor pains got really intense and I decided I wanted drugs. No...I wanted DRUGS, DAMMIT! Warm water...yeah, yeah...it's nice...where's that dude with the morphine? Apparently, I'm not nearly as tough as I thought I was...cause I wanted no part of that kind of pain. Ouchies.
posted by dejah420 at 5:57 PM on December 22, 2003

There are many benefits of a gentle introduction to the world by being born in water

Yeah, like being on the cover of a Nirvana album.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:23 PM on December 22, 2003

Is it chlorinated water? That can't be healthy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:35 AM on December 23, 2003

A freind of mine gave birth to her child in Jell-O. The kid dosen't know he's been born yet.
posted by jonmc at 7:05 AM on December 23, 2003

I can only say positive things about my wife's time in the tub. We rented a birthing pool for our planned homebirth and found it to be just the bees knees. Even if you don't actually push forth the baby underwater, the relaxation and pain relief the tub provides is a non-trivial improvement to the birth experience.

We filled the AquaDoula brand tub a week early to give it a test run, and set up was easy. It helped my wife feel comfortable in her 42nd week of pregnancy. We disassembled and waited. At early signs of real labor we refilled the tub. (It's important to start early. We emptied and refilled our hot water heater to get the thing full of warm water.) A heater and thermal cover keep it at the ready through labor (24 hours in our case).
My wife has attended many laboring women as a Doula, and recommends access to tub/water for women interested in a drug-free birth. It provides pain relief, relaxation, and for us, helped to give that grounded feeling some people experience around water.
posted by putzface_dickman at 10:56 AM on December 23, 2003

One thing to note about water births, in the UK at least, is that if there is anything "non-standard" about the birth or if the birth is induced, then midwives will not normally let you use the pool, as my partner and I discovered recently.

I think they are a great idea though, and if my partner can give birth naturally in the future, we are going to look again at using one.
posted by davehat at 2:32 AM on December 24, 2003

« Older Fauxville, USA   |   Quake in CA Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments