When I was pregnant with my first son, part of my prenatal care included attending childbirth classes at the birthing center where Dylan was going to be born. During one of the classes, we toured the birthing center and one of the midwives showed us all of the things that were available for us to use during labor and delivery. While bouncing around on a birthing ball sounded interesting and the birthing stool looked like it could certainly be effective, the thing that I remember most about my birthing center tour was the birthing tub.
As soon as I saw the birthing tub, I knew that I wanted to have a water birth. I had read about the benefits of water birth, and I was leaning in that direction, but seeing the tub made it absolutely clear in my mind that I wanted to welcome my little guy into the world with a water birth. As my pregnancy progressed, I made sure that water birth was a part of my birthing plan. Unfortunately, towards the end of my pregnancy I developed preeclampsia. Since I had to have an IV during labor and delivery, I was informed that water birth was no longer an option. I was very sad about that, to say the least, but thankfully the delivery went okay and Dylan arrived healthy.
When I became pregnant with Blake, I realized that I had a second chance at having a water birth. After some careful thought, my husband and I decided to prepare ourselves not only for a water birth, but for a home birth. I was so excited, and the home birth midwives who were caring for me were simply amazing. Even though I had a very healthy pregnancy, towards the end of the pregnancy I developed preeclampsia again. There would be no home birth and no water birth for Blake, I had to deliver at the hospital and I even ended up with a cesarean birth.
Even though I was not able to have a water birth for either of my sons, you may be able to have one. More and more birthing centers and hospitals are making birthing tubs available to their clients. One very appealing thing about giving birth in water is that the water provides pain relief without medication. It used to be thought that babies would drown if they were delivered underwater. Believe it or not, babies are born with something called a “diving reflex”, which causes them to hold their breath while they are underwater. Of course, just because you labor in the tub does not mean that you have to give birth in there, too. You can get in and out of the tub as you feel the need. If your OB and midwives give you the green light to go in a birthing tub, why not give it a try. It could help to make your labor and delivery faster and less painful.
Photo by jade on morguefile.com.