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Laboring in Water...but Not Delivering

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So I know there are quite a few NCB moms that read this blog and I'd be curious to hear from the ones that either labored or delivered in water. TheSmockLady seems to be with me on the desire to labor in water, but not actually deliver in it.

Really, I hadn't thought much about a labor pool up until a week or so ago. I figured I had my shower and I could always use that if I wanted some water relief.

Then I got to thinking one day about how nice it feels to submerge in a warm tub. (Not a hot tub, I hate those, way too hot...just a warm tub.) So, I asked my midwife what she thought of the benefits of laboring in water. She said she's had clients swear by it and that she thinks it's a great idea. Most of the moms she's caught for simply used kiddie pools though, very few rented "birthing tubs."

My main issue was the heat thing. It just seemed/seems like so much work to keep a tub warm. Boiling water, running hoses from the sink, using up the hot water tank, etc... When you rent a birthing pool (like an Aqua Doula) they come with heaters so that they maintain a constant temperature. That left me thinking that I would spend the $250 to rent one.

I asked around, including on a debate board that I belong to and pretty much everyone said that with the right kiddie pool, they had NO problem keeping the water warm and they liked the pool just as much, or more, than the "birthing tub." They also pointed out that with something like an Aqua Doula, the sides are thin and hard and not so great for leaning against. With a good inflatable pool, you can hang over the side and your midwife won't lose the circulation in her arms if she's leaning in to check you. ;)

So...it was suggested that I buy this pool as it's what many of the moms had used. They say it's super comfy, deep enough and wide enough for mom or for mom and hubby.

Now I'll note, I have no desire to give birth in the water. Placenta soup and all that...ick. I see why some women like the idea, but it's just not my cup of tea. I picture giving birth, then rolling over, cuddling up with baby, letting baby latch on and falling asleep. ;) No where in that "picture" is there "wiping all the red water off of me and baby before putting on some clothes.

Feedback? Did you use a labor tub or a kiddie pool? How did you keep the water warm? Did you have problems keeping it warm? Did you want to birth in the tub and change your mind, or maybe you just wanted to labor in the tub and decided to stay put for the birth... Would love to hear from anyone else that has either labored or birthed in the water.


  1. Blogger Meg | 10:27 AM |  

    VERY NEW just heard about it this month......
    The La Bassine Pool.
    My friend just had a great experience with it a few weeks ago (this is her fourth water birth and the best tub she has ever tried)
    The best part is that it is only 95 bucks. Way cheaper than an aquadoula and better built than a kiddie pool (both of which she has birthed in)
    She commented that the sides were so strong (unlike the kiddie pool) and it was deep enough to get real relief and the oval shape was the best.
    I rented an aquadoula the first time around and labored through transition...eventually wanting more physical support and getting up on my bed to push. What I have seen at many other births is that IF it is what is working for her no woman notices the junk in the water totally focused on the birth and how well the water works so don't give yourself too many parameters, just options!
    I have also found that women who love to take long soaks in tubs love waterbirth. I myself just reach the point where I have had enough water and need a change.
    Oh, and don't get in before 5 cm..it can really slow your labor down.
    I hope that helps!

  2. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 11:04 AM |  

    Thanks for the input, though I already ordered the pool that I linked to in my post. It's roughly the same size, actually a bit wider, than the Le Bassine. I did look at that pool, but the $95 price tag kinda turned me off since the size and dimensions weren't that different and since I'd known several women that swore by the tub I'm using.

    I do think that if I was a midwife and wanted a tub like that to take with me, I'd likely go with the Le Bassine because it does look like it would last longer...

    As for the 5cm, that may be tough. Cervical checks are incredibly painful for me (posterior cervix) so I'll pretty much get one when the midwife arrives and when I feel pushy. I kinda figured I'd just wait until I felt sort of 'called" to the pool and I'd get in then.

    I remember with my last birth, I was a good 12-15 hours in before I felt like I needed to stop walking and start focusing more on relaxing through contractions. HAd I had a tub, that's likely when I would have crawled in.

    You also make a good point on actual birthing. If it's time to push and I feel like staying in the tub, I certainly will, it's just not something that SEEMS tempting as of right now, ya know?

    Thanks so much for your input!

  3. Blogger Isaac's mom | 8:04 PM |  

    I wanted to do a water birth but my husband was not into at all. However, when we got to the hospital the only room they had left was one with a birthing tub. I was pretty far into labor (7 cm) and they asked me if I wanted to try the tub and I said yes. And he didn't argue :-) Anyhow, I think it helped but since it was my first birth it is hard to say. My goal was to make it through labor w/o drugs and I did that so I have to give the tub some credit since I stayed there the whole time. But yes, they are terribly uncomfortable so I think the pool you got is a much better idea. The temp was just warm and they kept adding water to keep it warm. I would have liked it hotter but was definitely not an option. I did not birth in the tub though. I pushed for two hours in the tub and we were not having any success so I had to get out.

  4. Blogger Carrie Willard | 8:09 PM |  

    3 babes of my 4 were born at home, always the same deal: labor in water but during transition my body STRONGLY tells me to get out. I get all hot and nauseated and the warm water makes me ill. I birth on the birth stool.
    I used the cheapie "fishie" pool, around $15. Dh fills it with hot then cool water, I get in then he adds more. We used various systems.. from as simple as adding buckets of hot water to hooking up to the washing machine's hot water line. Hth :)

  5. Blogger mamamilkers | 10:12 PM |  

    I labored in a rented tub. The one thing I liked about renting a tub was that it was set up for us and taken down. The only thing my birth attendants did have to do was keep dumping in boiling water, since our hot water heater is so small. This would have been an issue no matter what tub I used, of course.
    I thought I might give birth in the tub, but I just couldn't get in to a good position and my pushing wasn't effective enough. My midwife suggested I get out and sit on the birth stool and in my next contraction, my daughter was born.
    All in all, the tub was nice, but my transition/pushing stage was so fast and intense, I don't think it really mattered where I was at that point!

  6. Anonymous Anonymous | 10:37 PM |  

    My 1st baby was an unmedicated hospital birth, labored in shower because the ONE (yes, only one) birth tub in the whole L&D unit was occupied. Now, with my 2nd baby, we were at home with a rented Aqua Doula, and I do think it was worth the price. Prior to labor, I had no attachments to birthing in/out of the water - just planned on listening to what my body wanted. Some women want OUT OUT OUT, while others do NOT want to leave the water (apparently it can make easing the head out easier on the mama's bottom, as the water provides some gentle support for the crowning head/perineum).

    So, my labor was less than 2 hrs, start to finish, with things only really picking up in the last 45 minutes, and holy cow, for that birth, I am SO glad I was in the water. DH was able to be in there with me so I could dangle from his neck, nice spacious tub fit us both, temp was great although at one point when I started feeling grunty I do remember asking for a cool washcloth for my forehead/eyes and savoring my ice chips. Oh, and worrying about bloody water/placenta-y stuff? Wasn't an issue for us when the baby came out - became an issue once the *placenta* was out. So if it's of real concern to you, and you do end up birthing in the water, just try to exit the water before you push out the placenta.

    Anyhoo, I guess that's to say don't count out birthing in the water, just follow what your body is telling you and it'll all be good!

    Best wishes for a fabulous birth... :)

  7. Blogger sela | 9:47 PM |  

    Oh my goodness. Ok.

    I used my midwives' birth pool for my labor. It was such a pain!! I really thought it would be great, but my husband had a hard time keeping the water warm. I forget the brand name, but it was a big oval one with high sides. I don't know if our water heater is on the small side (our house is 1500sq. feet), but it just could not keep up! We ran the hose from the washing machine hookup directly into the tub about 10 feet away. I thought about getting in with just a foot or so of warm water in it, but changed my mind and hubby proceeded to fill it with lukewarm water until it was full. I got in that thing and I clinched up and started shivering. Oh, it was terrible! Hubby pumped out all the water and started over again after the water heater recharged, but the same thing happened. We got about a foot of warm water then it started getting cold again. I don't know if you could fill it until the water turns cold, then wait for your water heater to catch up and add it or if the original water would be cold by then. I dunno.

    If we have another I will get a kiddie pool. I think laboring in a foot of warm water would be nice. Also, I did not like the high sides because I couldn't sit and lean over the side at the same time. I really wanted to lean forward during my labor.

    Good luck!!

  8. Blogger cooler*doula | 11:50 AM |  


    The aquadural, as my midwives called it.

    I just hopped into the tub at home - it was one of those great big old claw foot ones. As natural mom said, when I hit transition (although as a first timer I didn't realize I had) I became terribly overheated and got out.

    Wishing you a wonderful, watery labor.

  9. Anonymous Anonymous | 7:38 PM |  

    I'm anticipating my 4th homebirth. With #1, I labored in the water, but intuition told me to birth out of the water (there was a good reason...long story). With my last 2 waterbirths, I loved it for relaxing, focusing, etc. Paired with candlelight and soft music, the early labor can be quite nice! My husband was the "pool boy", and kept pots of hot water heating; just take a pot out and replace with a hot one, every hour or so. I've had long labors (54 hrs, 16, and 20), so I've done my time in the water. As for the nasty water, it's not a big deal, soon after baby has come, we do an herb bath, and then I shower. THEN the wonderful nap! I'm looking forward to October, when I get to try out Le Bassine!

  10. Blogger Mama Klistel | 12:12 PM |  

    I used the Aqua Doula tub, delivered the babe in the water and loved it. There was nothing to wipe off. I promptly got out and delivered the placenta in bed. For me, it worked fabulously....but I know plenty who preferred otherwise!

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