21 answers

Questions About Water Birth

Okay, here's the deal. I am pregnant with baby #2 and am planning a water birth. For our first child, I had an epidural and had a great birthing experience. I just feel like I missed out on something and am looking at trying something different for our second and last birth. I have friends who have had natural labors. When I brought the subject up to them about me having the water birth, I was pretty much told that I wouldn't be able to handle it because I had the epidural the first time and would end up wimping out and doing the same. So, I don't want to talk to them anymore about it! My husband is VERY supportive of me and this decision. We are signed up for a birthing class in 2 weeks and have watched, "The Business of Being Born." My question is: what should I be doing to prepare for this? I know I can do it. I know it is going to be ridiculously hard. I guess I am just looking for some extra support and advice. Thanks in advance for anything you mommies can help me with! Oh, this water birth is going to be done at a hospital, not at home. I am not looking for anti-hospital opinions, just support to get me ready! Thanks!

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You can do this. God created us to have babies. I am 43 and have had 4 births. My first one was at 18, I was raised by a strong mom who had 6 babies and always told me it was "nothing". I cannot say it was nothing, but it was not as hard as some people make it out to be. I chose with baby number 1 not to have an epidural, in those days the side effects of epidural scared you more than giving birth naturally. If I had had an epidural with baby number 2, he probably would have died, my doc was an idiot and I give my mom total credit for me and my baby making it through that one. Baby number 3 was the easiest of my all my births to that point. I was induced and once labor started he came quick, I labored 3 hours. However, my little girl takes the cake. I was 40 when she was born, also induced. Doc broke my water at 10, labor got intense at 11 and she was here at 12:05. 3 long pushes, (3 sets of 10 count) and she was here. I am so glad I decided to do it natural with each and every one of them.

Have faith and don't listen to negative people.

1 mom found this helpful

I do not have experience with water birth but I do have experience with natural childbirth. I think you know yourself and your own body. Don't let your friends downplay your decision.

Suggestions -
1. Hire a doula; doulas are great labor support and can help you with comfort measures; positioning etc.
2. Educate yourself; What classes are you taking? If it is just the standard hospital childbirth classes - do more; Check out Bradley classes; if it is too late for Bradley; read Bradley books.
3. Exercise; sign up for prenatal yoga classes; water classes at the YMCA etc.
4. Read positive birth stories. Watch more films. Many people have seen Business of Being Born. Check out other films. Orgasmic Birth, once you get over the name, is a very tastefully and artfully done movie. It really looks at the types of support that birthing women need.
5. Tour different facilities that offer water births. I know that Barnes offers water births but so does Greenville hospital. Greenville has midwives. The midwifery model of care is more in tune to what a laboring mother needs. They will most likely provide more labor support than an OB. OBs are mostly there to catch babies.
6. Keep in mind that every labor is different. If you had an induction or augmentation with pitocin with your first your labor would most likely be longer and harder. Your baby might also have been in a less than optimal position. Different positions can also cause pains in different places; Women say that back labor is much harder to deal with than regular labor. The position of the baby also may make the labor longer.
7. Be open to different comfort measures. What you might think you want in labor might be different than what you find you actually need in labor.
8. Surround yourself with naturally minded people who know that you are serious about getting what you want.
9. Practice optimal fetal positioning. Although there are no guarrantees, getting a baby in a good position really helps labor. Some women find prenatal chiropractic care helpful. There are chiros who specialize in this. Other mothers practice some of the expercises on spinningbabies.com.
10. Some women are helped by taking hypnobaby classes.
11. Listen to your body during labor. Your body will try to get in the most comfortable position it can.
12. More education. The Thinking Women's Guide by Henci Goer is a good book. ICAN is also now offering an online seminar on common medical interventions used during childbirth. The more you know the more informed your choices can be.

For me I thought of the hardest physical and mental thing I had done in my life. I figured if I could get through this than I could get get through labor. Labor does not last forever. Like pregnancy it does eventually end. During transition, I really found a zone and stayed in that. I read Ina Mae Gaskins Guide to childbirth. She really focused on using vocalizations. Although I didn't do this the first time I figured that it couldn't hurt. I think it helped as well. The doula doing double hip squeezes was also wonderful.
Good luck with your choices.

A side note, someone mentioned Birthing From Within. There are classes offered in the St. Louis area. They were great sessions.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
I was in a similar situation! #1 was an epidural, and it took FOREVER (18+ hours). I promised myself that #2was going to be no drugs. She was out in 45 minutes (no drugs). If you are committed to the idea, then you probably won't change your mind. Don't listen to those naysayers who say you can't do it!! That pain is sooo temporary! And, it sounds like your husband is a great support. That will help you tremendously1

Just remember that seconds usually go faster than firsts. I commend you on your decision! If the hospital had offered water births, I would have taken it!

Also, I have a dear friend who delivered all three of her kiddos @ home in the tub. She raves about the experience.

You go for it! You will do great!

1 mom found this helpful

As for your other friend/family support not thinking you can do it, just tell them, "Whether you think you can or can't, you're right," (Henry Ford)...and I KNOW I can do it whether you support me or not. Moreover, it is AWESOME that your husband is so supportive..that's a good start!

I have not had a "water birth" before; however, I would say to best prepare is to get informed with the CORRECT information. To do this, ask your doctor/midwife questions and for referrals to more information on the subject (e.g. books to read, "water birth" places to tour, web sites to visit, questions you should be asking, etc.).

Also, take a tour of the place where the "water birth" will take place early on so you know what to expect and Ask questions there as well.

Hope this helps and good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Well I didn't have a water birth but I had a mostly natural birth. Only 2 shots of demeral and mostly that was just to quite dry heaving during labor. Just thought I would say good for you that you want to do it without an epidural. personally you couldn't have paid me enough to have me get an epidural! I do know that water births are supposed to reduce back pain and leg pain in labor.

But after my daughter was born I was watching either discovery channel or health channel one day and saw a show talking about women having orgasms during birth instead of so much pain. dunno exactly how it all works but i do know there was a lot of massaging and kissing. so you might try to find more info at their websites.

1 mom found this helpful

I would recommend taking Bradley Birthing Classes. It is a class designed for women who want a natural birth. They offer ideas and techniques for relaxing through your contractions and allowing your labor to progress naturally. These classes also help your husband support you during the labor and delivery process so that you can stay relaxed and focused.

1 mom found this helpful

Okay, the idea that you can't do it because you didn't do it before is crazy. Everyone has a first time. Birth is hard, but we all know that. I've had two natural births, one in a hospital, one in a birth center (and am going to have another one soon). I'm not sure where you're going to get to have an actual water birth in a hospital, as it is against most hospital policys, you may look into that. Neither of mine were water births, but with my first I was in the water until I pushed, they just barely got me out. Anyway, I have a few suggestions. First of all, get a doctor who is very supportive of natural birth. Many say they are, but as you get closer to your due date talk more and more about interventions. Second I highly recommend a doula. A doula is there to help you remember what positions will help, to yell at the nurse when she is needed, to tell them what you want, to be on your side. They'll also have suggestions for ways to get ready for the birth. I had one with my first and will have one again this time. It was totally worth the money (sometimes they are covered by insurance and often by flex spending), and were were broke at the time. Finally, make a birth plan and talk it over with your doctor so you guys are on the same page ahead of time about what you want and you have something to give the nurses at the hospital. It's hard to communicate what you want in labor. I wish you lots of luck. You can definitely do it in water or out.


1 mom found this helpful

Good for you! And it's great you have your husband's support. As for the friends...what kind of friends are they...sheesh! (Like a too old bra in pregnancy...not much support there huh?) heehee.
Seriously though, I am also going to try for a med-free birth this time (basically in the same situation as you) and just got started with "Hypnobabies home study" and since I really don't even have Dh's support, I'm on my own.
The one thing I DO recommend, is keep a postive view about it...don't convince yourself it will be "ridiculously hard" but be willing to be flexible if it comes to the safety of your and/or your baby (I did rotations in L&D during PA training, and saw some scary situations where mom wouldn't deviate from her "plan" until it was almost too late!)
Also, if you want, look up in old posts a question I posted almost a year ago about thinking about the same thing...I had tons of wonderful responses. Feel free to PM me.
I'm due in early Dec. Congrats on your new little-one-to-be!

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