So over the past weeks of Hydrobumps starting many of the women have mentioned wanting to use a pool during their labour, not always for birth but maybe just for a comfort measure in labour. So I’ve discussed in the class Q&A a few tips and thought I’d put it here in a blog for people to go back to. So here they are in no particular order:
1) What to wear- a lot of ladies have asked this question and I always tell them to wear what they will be comfortable in, whether that’s a bikini, t-shirt or nothing at all! What I do advise it to get the bikini bottoms that tie at the side, this makes thing much easier and less disruptive for you when you may be approached a time for a vaginal examination or obviously birth. Pools create a very relaxing atmosphere and women are left with as little disturbance as possible (this should be the case for all birth environments) so as you can imagine when you are comfortable and in the flow of your own rhythm of labour having to step in and out of an awkward bikini bottom isn’t the most appealing thing for you.
T -shirts/nighties are often chosen as the maintain privacy but don’t require anything to wear on your bottom half. These are great but can feel heavy when they are wet. Remember to dip your shoulders under the water every so often to keep yourself warm, the water will be topped up and kept at a steady temperature. Alternatively using a towel or cloth over your back and shoulders in the pool can me a great option when leaning over the pool side.
A Birthday suit for a birthday? I’ve had many women just find themselves more comfortable with nothing on and that is equally fine, you need to make sure you are comfortable and many women choose this for immediate skin to skin to happen following birth without having to worry about getting wet clothes off or unhook a bikini top. Just remember there may be times you are asked to get out of the pool so I’d recommend having a towel handy or even better a bath robe you don’t mind using to keep yourself warm.
2) Protect your knees- quite often women use a range of positions in the birth pool and a common is leaning over the side of the pool on their knees. The pool is a hard surface and kneeling for periods of time can be quite uncomfortable. Fold a towel and put this underneath your knees to cushion yourself.
3) Pools at home- having a pool at home is a great way to ensure you can use a pool instead of the worry of Hospitals or birth centres having one free to use. These are inflatable and come with liners. Creating a warm and calming ambiance for labour with low lighting is ideal. Self contained fairy lights put around the base of the pool before the protective liner is places will light up the pool from the bottom and create a great way for your midwife to make the necessary observations easier but avoid harsh lighting that can disturb labour progress. And this creates a lovely way for you to see your new born in a beautiful calm way as you birth and bring them up from the lights.
*IMPORTANT* Always ensure that the lights you are using are suitable for use and keep any battery packs/ sockets dry and as far away from direct water and splashes as possibles!
4) Stay hydrated- going through labour burns a lot of calories and energy so it’s important to keep your energy and hydration levels up. Put that in with a warm pool, often humid rooms too it’s important to make sure you keep yourself well hydrated.
5) If you don’t have access to a pool/bath for your labour and birth, do not despair! Most if not all hospitals will have a shower and this can be used for some hydrotherapy to help with labour. Using the shower over your bump or lower back can be a great comfort measure, stand in the shower and hold the shower head over your bump or back while moving your hips and often I have found women find a rhythmic rock with this which is great for keeping mobile and active in labour.
Hopefully these tips will help you to have a wonderfully enjoyable birth made that bit easier with Water!