What’s it really like to give birth in water?

Getting into a tranquil and upright position may be easier if you are using a birth pool. Being upright gives you the benefit of working with gravity as your baby is born.

It may be easier to push your baby out in the water, rather than just in the air. You’ll be braced by the water and you can also use the sides of the pool for additional support.

You may feel uneasy about unintentionally having a bowel movement right as your baby comes into the world, but there’s really no need to worry about this. Many expectant mummies don’t even notice it has actually happened, and neither will you. Plus, if you are really worried, remember that it’s much easier for the midwife to take out the poo from the water than from bed sheets where it’ll be much more of a mess to clean. Plus, the smell will also be much more manageable.

The way water births transpire means your baby will be brought up to the surface as soon as possible, head first. This will enable them to start begin breathing very soon after birth. It’s not very common, but when the baby is brought up to the surface too hastily, the umbilical cord can actually snap. One UK study stated this happening in fewer than one in two hundred water births though.

Also, in the worst case with a properly trained midwife present, a snapped cord is definitely not a life-threatening emergency. The midwife will always be alert to the prospect of it happening too. Midwives and mums are instructed to take care not to pull on the cord as they gently lift the new-born from the water. This is to cater for if the cord is slightly shorter than normal too.

Women who have water births normally say they have had a positive, and encouraging experience. They say a water birth is especially helpful when it comes to the pushing stage.

If you are having your water birth in hospital, you may find there are limitations on how you can use the pool, so check first.

Most water births go smoothly, but if an emergency does arise, it may take time to get you out of the pool. Even so, midwives are proficient at dealing with these sorts of emergencies. They’ll have ways of getting you out as fast as possible, and getting you the help you require.