Many women find water helpful for labour and birth. You may be advised to try using a warm bath in early labour to help soothe the discomfort of contractions or you may wish to use a birthing pool throughout your labour - usually, once labour is established.
Sinking your bump into warm water can be very soothing in labour. Birth pools are much larger than a bath and help you to remain mobile. The water can be supportive in comfortable, upright positions which help labour progress. Waterbirth promotes dignity, as the pool provides an element of privacy as your baby is born. You are also more likely to be the first person to touch your baby as babies born into a pool do not need to be ‘caught’. Instead, the baby will be lifted to the surface in the moments after birth.
In Kent & Medway, waterbirth is available in many birth centres and obstetric units. Most women planning homebirth will hire or borrow a birth pool. For women who are advised to birth in an obstetric unit, wireless monitoring (telemetry) can make waterbirth a safe option. You may be advised to labour but not birth in the pool. Please speak to your midwife if you think you may wish to use water in labour.