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The Benefits of Labouring and Birthing in Water

Today more and more women are making the decision to give birth at home with the help of a birthing pool. We have outlined some of the benefits experienced by women in labour who have decided to use water during their births.

The Feel Good Factor:

Water is a feminine element. It is buoyant and soft and carries your body”s weight. We all know how good it feels to have a long, hot bath, so imagine just how therapeutic warm water can be during labour. Many women testify that the warm sensations on their skin remind them how powerful and sensual a body in labour should be. Indeed, the majority of women are surprised to note how wonderful and relieving it feels when they first enter the birthing pool. It”s worth hiring a birth pool mainly for this reason Even if you are not planning on a water birth.

“Even though I knew the water was clear, I felt as if no one outside the birthing pool could see my body. I felt an extreme sense of privacy in the water.” – Amy

Pain Relief:

Birthing pools help many women to cope better with pain and enhance those hormones which are an integral part of a healthy birth. For many women, a birthing pool can be the key to a physiological birth, providing an alternative route to medical intervention such as an epidural. It is important to stress that water is not likely to take away the pain, but it can make a tremendous difference to your ability to relax, and may well make the pain more bearable. In fact, some studies even show that endorphin levels reduce when labouring in a birthing pool – a sign that pain levels do decrease. For many, a birthing pool is a form of pain relief to try before looking to medical alternatives; remember you can always change your mind if you need to. Indeed, many choose to combine the use of a birth pool with gas and air, which can be used easily whilst in the birthing pool (other forms of medication and intervention are normally only available in a hospital so please discuss this with your midwife).


Another benefit of labouring in water is the superb mobility that it offers. The buoyant effect of the water completely supports your body Õs weight. This gives you a feeling of physical liberation. As a result, resting between contractions is much easier, and you are less likely to become fatigued or exhausted. In the same way, the water”s buoyancy helps to make you significantly more comfortable in upright positions. You can move more easily and thanks to the water, many women feel that they are able to help their babies to descend and rotate. You will be surprised to find that it is much easier, for example, to squat in water. Even women who find squatting difficult on land, can often do so comfortably in water – with the added benefit that this position makes a lot more space in the pelvis for your baby to descend.

“I didn’t think I wanted to use a birth pool, but when I got in, the sense of freedom was exhilarating. Whereas in the air I felt cumbersome, in the water I could move into any position I wanted so easily. As a result, if I have another child I will definitely choose to use a birthing pool again.”


It is also argued that water increases the suppleness of our skin, thus minimising the risk of tearing. Although this is not proven, many women are convinced that water plays a huge role in not tearing during childbirth.

“Deciding to have my baby at home in a pool made her birth an absolutely wonderful positive experience. I would recommend the use of water to every mum-to-be.” – Jo


Entering the birth pool during labour causes you to relax: it reduces stress hormones in your body. It lowers your heart rate and blood pressure; your respiratory rate lowers and you consume less oxygen. Water helps warm up your uterus as labour progresses, thus reducing cramps and tiredness. It helps relax the pelvic floor muscles which help the baby be born more easily. It also helps soften the perineum thus reducing the risk of tearing. All of the above helps you conserve energy needed for the second stage of labour.


In the birth pool you are in your own womb-like space and you are unlikely to notice how quickly time passes. A birth pool can represent a sanctuary from what some women consider the menace of obstetric routines. In a birth pool it is more difficult to disturb or distract you. Others need your consent to get close to you – you are very much in charge. The strong sense of privacy women feel in a birth pool lends itself to helping women labour more efficiently. Many women say that the world beyond the rim of the birthing pool seems to disappear. In water, your body is definitely your own territory.

“As soon as I got into the birthing pool, the panic I had been feeling between contractions disappeared. In the birth pool, I felt lucid and completely in control – it was fantastic!” – Marie


Finally, a birth pool offers you and your partner a closeness that often cannot be experienced in a normal birth environment. Not every woman wants to be held during childbirth, but having the option to have your partner close to you is a great benefit. As mentioned earlier, in a birth pool there is a definite barrier between you and your birth attendants, which, of course, is felt by both parties. By entering into the birthing pool with you, your partner may feel significantly more included in your labour.

“With both of my water births it was crucial that my partner was in the birthing pool with me. During my contractions, his closeness gave me a much needed security and strength. During the rest periods, if I needed some space, the buoyancy of the water allowed me to move away easily. When our children were born, they were passed to us both and it felt as if we were in our own little world.

The Birth-Pool-in-a-Box range of quality birthing pools is available from MumStuff with Free Delivery.

(c) Reproduced with permission of Birth-Pool-in-a-Box

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