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FAQs

when can I get in?

Some midwives have a policy of not allowing a woman into the pool before she is 5cm dilated, because there is evidence that this can slow labour .
 
Lyn Brown, author of ‘The Tide has Turned’ audit of Waterbirth, states that although water may slow things down or stop labour, it is not a reason to restrict a woman from the pool. If labour does slow down or stop she can get out and re-enter when labour starts again.

Often, getting into the pool gives a wonderful release of tension. This relaxes the muscles, eases fear and anxiety, floods the body with endorphins and quite often moves you along the road of labour quite a way.

why might my midwife ask me to leave the pool?

A midwife will ask you to leave the pool for the following reasons:-

is it safe for the baby to be born in water?

Gilbert & Tookey’s paediatric study of over 4000 babies born in water, “Perinatal mortality and morbidity among babies delivered in water” reveals that water birth is not dangerous.

The effort, hard work and all the squeezing and activity of labour bring about a normal reduction of oxygen in the baby’s blood. The result is that the baby makes no attempt to inhale water.

Babies breathe inside the uterus, although it is fluid rather than air that passes in and out of their lungs. Before labour starts the baby stops this breathing. This continues while the cord remains untied because the baby is still connected to the umbilical cord and receiving an oxygenated blood supply via the placenta. In water, the cord remains soft and continues to pulse after the baby is delivered, so the baby does not need to breathe until after the cord is cut.

can I deliver the placenta in the pool?

Yes, in the absence of complications. 

Ethel Burns and Sheila Kitzinger state in Midwifery Guidelines for Use of Water in Labour, 2000;

 "Physiological third stage (this means without the use of the syntometrine injection) should be an option, as for any other low risk birth. The cord is left unclamped until the placenta and membranes are expelled by the mother, whilst she is in the pool."

It will vary depending on the hospital. Some midwives prefer you to leave the pool for the third stage, because it is hard to assess blood loss in the water.
However, it may still be conducted physiologically on "land".

 A midwife will wait for the umbilical cord to cease pulsating prior to clamping and cutting the cord, unless there is a concern.  

The third stage can average 20-40 minutes, you may find you may want to leave the pool if the placenta is slow to be birthed. Often this helps and the placenta is birthed easily. Putting the baby to the breast will also help.

I’m very tall can I use all your birthing pools?

Yes our smallest birthing pool has been used by a 6ft tall woman twice.