Guest Post: Planning a water birth
Today, I’m delighted to bring you a guest post, written by Maria Barker who loves discussing the various options during pregnancy, and how women make decisions from their first pregnancy symptoms.
Planning a Water Birth
Water births have had a popularity surge in the last five years and thankfully hospitals are beginning to accommodate for this. There was a temporary ban on water births in 2006 in Ireland but this has now been lifted and technically, hospitals are able to offer this choice to mums-to-be, though anecdotal evidence suggests availing of this option is difficult if not impossible in most Irish hospitals.
The First Steps
The first thing to do if you are considering a water birth is to find out which hospitals, if any, near you have the equipment and inclination to offer water births. If you experience problems in finding a hospital happy to accommodate for your water birth you may want to look into giving birth at home. For this you would need to find an experienced midwife who had delivered water births before at home and is happy to do so again. You’ll also need your own pool.
Think Before You Commit
Before you make your decision do make sure you’ve read all the pros and cons of water births including possible risks. Don’t let people’s opinions scare you away from the idea, make your decision based on medical facts and your preference. Some people do not approve of pain relief-free labours but the choice is completely yours. Water births are known to reduce pain during labour, but, as you will know, you will not be allowed an epidural or episiotomy during the labour.
Once you’ve made that important decision it is more vital than ever to keep to your regular hospital or GP appointments and check-ups. There are a number of factors which could prevent you from having a water birth and you’ll need to be open minded, not to mention willing to be flexible during the pregnancy and labour.
Important Checks To Make
During the labour you’ll want to check (or have someone check!) the temperature of the pool. (It should be kept around body temperature and not above 37C) It is advisable not to enter the water too early as the warmth may relax the body too much and stop the contractions. Also, try not to be too disheartened if things don’t go the way you planned and you have to leave the pool before the birth for whatever reason. Just remember that the method of birth isn’t the most important thing but your baby’s health is.
Finally, once you’ve given birth in the pool you may be asked to leave before you deliver the placenta. This is because any loss of blood is easier to monitor outside of water and is a safety precaution. By this time you will have your lovely new baby to distract you so it isn’t anything to worry about!