You’ve decided on a home water birth – excellent – but how do you prepare for it and what equipment will you need? Nowadays choosing to give birth at home in water is a viable, safe and popular option for most women.
1 – speak to your midwife about your wish to have a home water birth to make sure it’s an appropriate and safe option for you.
2 – the pool is going to be your largest expense so decide if you want to buy or hire a self inflating or fixed pool direct from a specialist company or source your own second hand pool.
3 – consider these questions?
- what room will the birth pool be set up in?
- is there enough space for my partner, other birthing companions and two midwives?
- is there a sofa or bed in the room or nearby if I need to get out of the pool for a vaginal examination or just because I want to?
- is it easy to get water from the nearest tap to the pool?
4 – practice putting up your pool and getting water from your chosen tap into it. This is not something you want to be worrying about when your labour begins.
5 – It’s advisable to get in the water when you feel you are in established labour – three really good surges over ten minutes.
6 – what should you wear – nothing, and it means baby can be put straight onto your chest for important skin to skin contact.
7 – use the pool to help find your perfect labouring and birth positions. The water will help hugely as your body surges and when you’re ready to birth your baby the padded surfaces will cushion you as you lean forward or go on all fours.
8 – your midwives will make sure that the water temperature for the birth is 37 degrees. This is a very important safety issue so if there was no midwife present, then other birthing companions need to be aware of this.
9 – when baby is born you need not worry about anything apart from holding baby and cementing the bond that was forged in the womb.
10 – labour ends when you have birthed the placenta either naturally or by having it managed by the midwives (if you don’t know about physiological, also called natural placenta birth, then I urge you to read about it) and this may be in or out of the water.
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As a natural childbirth consultant, Sarah helps expecting women and their partners make informed choices about their pregnancy and birth. Sarah teaches Hypnobirthing, lectures about normal birth and founded NaturalChildbirth – an international website all about pregnancy and birth – www.naturalchildbirth.co/uk