What are the benefits of water?
- It relieves pain women who labour in water are far less likely to use medical pain relief – in one study, only 24% of first-time mothers who had water births needed pain-relieving drugs compared to 50% of those who didn’t use water.
- It reduces stress and anxiety which in turn lessens your perception of pain and gives you confidence in your ability to give birth.
- It supports your weight and makes it easier for you to stay upright, helping your pelvis to open up so your baby can pass through. The buoyancy of the water also makes it easier to change positions to help you cope with your contractions.
- It reduces the risk of tearing The water softens the tissues of your perineum (the area between the vagina and anus) making them more supple and able to stretch to accommodate your baby’s head as it passes through. This also means you’re less likely to need an episiotomy.
- It frees feel-good hormones Relaxing in warm water stimulates your body to produce pain-relieving endorphins.
- You can combine it with other forms of pain relief including gas and air, massage, acupressure and aromatherapy. You won’t be able to use a TENS machine in the water;
- It’s peaceful The pool itself is a quiet, private environment which helps you feel safe and secure while you labour
- Your baby will be born in the most gentle way. Going from the warm womb to the warm water will not be 'shocking', unlike births in the air where the baby is being born into cold air.