During the later stages of pregnancy when I was expecting my first child, the thought of the impending inevitable labor started to make me feel more than a little overwhelmed! During my third trimester, myself and my partner had learnt as much as we could about the different labor experiences, the kind of pain relief that was on offer, and what we could expect to experience when those first contractions started to arrive. The one thing that scared me most was the amount of physical pain I would be in. Having been lucky enough to have never broken a bone or experienced any real physical trauma in my life before, I had absolutely nothing to compare it to, and had no idea how I would be able to cope when those final stages of labor arrived.
After investigating all the different options available to me, we decided that if all things allowed, we would opt for a water birth, and were lucky enough that for the majority of my labor at least, I got the birth experience I wanted.
Here’s why I loved my water birth:
- The water birth provided a relaxing, drug free way to reduce pain. The warm sensation of the water against my back and bump really helped me combat the pain as each contraction came and went, and I found I was able to cope with the sensation far better when I was in the water than when I was on the bed or walking around. I was also able to have additional pain relief in the form of laughing gas as and when I needed, without having to get out of the water.
- The sensation of floating around in the water meant that I could easily move around and change my body positions during labor, which really helped as some of the stronger contractions started, became more intense or got closer together. My partner was able to sit on the side of the pool and rub my back or provide reassuring support as I did so. As my baby was back to back, these little massages had a massive benefit.
- As a relatively anxious first time Mom to be, I found the dimmed lights and the less clinical conditions of the room with the birthing pool very calming and was able to zone out a little and forget where I was for a while.
- A less hospital feel meant that I didn’t have to be worrying about everything else occurring around me, and could focus on my labor breathing techniques , paying attention to breathe slowly and deeply and put my mindfulness techniques to the test.
Whilst I didn’t actually give birth in the pool (I experienced some complications which meant I had to get out and have an emergency episiotomy), I am still very grateful for the water birth experience I did have. If you do go on to have your baby in the water, as have many of my friends, the environment can help provide a calmer first experience for baby. With a darker room and the ability to come straight onto your chest and feel safe in your arms, this experience can be a far more gentle way to enter the world.
Would you have a water birth?