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water birth fears

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

This is my second pregnancy but will be my first home birth/water birth. My only main concern about a water birth is that it might slow down my labor. Any thoughts or advice on this?
post #2 of 16
Originally Posted by mrsbrunette View Post
Hi all,

This is my second pregnancy but will be my first home birth/water birth. My only main concern about a water birth is that it might slow down my labor. Any thoughts or advice on this?
I would say if you feel like it's slowing your labor down, just hop out and labor outside of it. I think it only slows labor down when you are in the earlier phases of labor, not active and not transition either. For some moms it speeds labor up due to the relaxation it causes, especially in active and transition.

It's a great tool to use in labor, and really gentle for you and the baby, and can be easily removed. Just because you plan on having a water birth, doesn't mean you have to.
post #3 of 16
I've heard some people say their MW won't "let" them get into the water until they feel they really NEED it, or until they're a certain cm dilated - because it can slow down labor.

First of all, any MW who wouldn't "let" me labor wherever the I FEEL LIKE laboring wouldn't be my MW. Secondly, a vaginal exam just to assess cervical progress just to "justify" the use of a fabulous labor comfort tool seems asinine to me. Seems like such views are totally at odds with what I consider to be truly woman-centered, holistic midwifery care.

Anywaysss..... um, yeah, if labor slows down, just get out. Or if it DOES slow down, so what?! The MW can go home if it slows significantly. Your labor progress not adhering to the asinine "Friedman curve" of dilating 1 cm per hour isn't necessarily a problem in and of itself.

I've even heard it recommended that it's great to take a bath in early labor. If labor slows, then it's not "active" labor & therefore you shouldn't go to the hospital or BC yet (for those not planning a HB.)

Personally, with my DS, first baby, I was fortunate enough to be in labor on a hot July afternoon & we had a big in-ground pool at the time. I got into the pool after I'd been laboring only an hour. It still wasn't serious, I wasn't in pain, & I hadn't even called my DH to come home from work yet when I got into the pool! (So, in other words, still early labor, I wasn't even thinking of myself as "IN LABOR" yet.)

Well, about 2.5 hours later, I got back out of the pool & about 90 min after that - I felt the urge to push & was done first stage! Yup, 5 hours total first stage from the first, "Hm, that was a ctrx, huh, interesting," to "NEED TO LEAVE NOW FOR HOSPITAL, I WANT TO PUSHHHH!!" so it didn't slow things down for me at all.
post #4 of 16
What they said!

Also, water birth is AWESOME
post #5 of 16
If you feel the desire to get in and it slows your labor then that is just what you and/or baby needed.
post #6 of 16
I was in early labour for about 24 hours when my water broke at 11:30pm...within half an hour I was definitely in active labour. Soon after that (maybe around 12:30?) I asked my family to call my midwife...she was cleaning up from a homebirth and said she'd meet us at the center at 1:30. I was so into active labour that I honestly wasn't sure if I'd make it...I tried to make it very clear that I needed to go SOON.

When we got to the birth center I wanted to get in the tub...my mw suggested I try the shower first because the tub can sometimes slow labour down. I do wish that I had declined and been adamant about getting in the tub, and I'm pretty sure that if I had she would have had no problem respecting my wishes. He was born at 5:21 (and I did labour in the tub, and also birthed in the tub).

This time around I will get in the tub as soon as I get there (if, of course, I feel like it at the time). If it slows my labour down (doubtful) I will simply get out, no problem, and try again later. I do need to bring it up with my midwife, but I VERY highly doubt that she'll have any problem with it. I just think nobody really realized just how fast my labour was going. To everyone else, I seemed to be handling it so well, and the fact that it was my first birth, NO ONE expected 5 1/2 hours of active labour (I was 5-6cm when I got to the center and she never did another cervical check, so I'm sure they didn't expect me to dilate another 4-5cm in less than 4 hours). I however knew very well that it was going fast. But, seriously, my midwife, my mother (who have 5 births, 4 at home and was at my sister's birth), my father (who was there for all 4 births and was at my sister's birth), my big sister (who had a FSBC birth) and my younger sister and niece...no one expected it. I was later told that my midwife's assistant almost didn't get there in time!

I think this time everyone will listen to me a lot better. And I have a feeling I won't have much of a problem telling them either...I knew that it was going fast, I knew when it was time to push and that I needed to get back in the water ASAP because pushing was going to be short, and I also knew that I was actually going to poop while pushing when everyone just told me it was the baby coming down (yay for fishnets! ).
post #7 of 16
If you feel it's time to get in then get in, and if it slows your labor down then get out.

I went in when I was clearly in transition.
post #8 of 16
I had a natural hospital birth with my first ds and sooo wished I had a tub to labor in.
I chose to have a home water birth with my second son. It was just what I had hoped, being at home and having the water to labor and birth in. I don't know how far along I was when I got in the tub, because my midwife doesn't do internal checks (thank goodness). I hadn't hit transition though I know. But my contractions were pretty consistent at 2 minutes or so apart and were getting more difficult to breathe through.

But then I had to wait another 30 minutes after I wanted to get in. Because they thought the water was too hot and added cold water, but actually the cold water had sunk to the bottom because the hose was going to the bottom of the pool. Make sure whoever is feeling up the pool stirs the water around. So the first 20 minutes in the pool wasn't quite as warm, but as they kept adding warm water it felt great.

Ds 2 was my last, but I would never consider laboring without a pool again.
post #9 of 16
Originally Posted by CBEmomma View Post
If you feel it's time to get in then get in, and if it slows your labor down then get out.

I went in when I was clearly in transition.

I got in too soon with my first baby, I think, and it did slow labor down a bit. As soon as I got out I started crowning.

This time labor went so fast that I barely had time to get in before transition was over and I began needing to push. I definitely credit the water with the fact that I didn't tear at all with this baby even though she was bigger than her brother. Pushing her out underwater was MUCH less painful and traumatic in every way.
post #10 of 16
My mw asks that we not get in the tub until she is there because in her expirences, it has a tendency to speed labor. She said water would slow or stop any labor that wasn't active, but once you hit active it would speed things up. Now that's definately a generalized statment and things vary from person to person. I'm glad I listened to her though because DS was born within 20 minutes of getting into the tub and I do think it sped things up ever so slightly. I was well into transition when I got in but immediately my water broke and I started feeling the urge to push when I got in the tub. I probably would've been a little longer-but not much at all-had I stayed out. I'm very glad I listened to my mw about that because I honestly don't think she wouldn't have made it to the birth had I got in sooner.

Do what feels good when you are able. If it slows down, get out and move around a bit. I've read birth stories where the mama was in and out of the tub with every contraction or every other one. Honestly, I wouldn't be concerned about it too much. Just follow your body's cues and go from there. Be open to others suggestions, but if you want something else, be firm about that.

Enjoy your water birth, it is a great expirence!
post #11 of 16
I'm planning a homebirth/waterbirth this time around and I'm excited about the water! My last birth was a hospital birth and by the time I wanted/needed to get into the tub they wouldn't let me.
post #12 of 16
I'm planning a waterbirth this time, too. The first time my MW discouraged me from trying a waterbirth, she said being in the water impeded her view and with a first time mum, she wanted to be able to see what was happening clearly That kind of bothered me. (she used to be an L&D nurse back in the day, so perhaps this had an impact on her perspective?). So I laboured in water early on but delivered in the bed. I am excited to follow my own cues this time with a different MW who is all for water birth!!
post #13 of 16

I had a home waterbrith with my first, and my mw said afterwards that it probably did slow down my labor but so what? My labor was 23 hours and I spent about 10 of those in the water.  The one time I got out for longer than a quick trip to the bathroom it was way too intense.  I think my body needed to birth slowly and the water helped.  You'll know what's right for you.

post #14 of 16

What I've heard is that labour might slow down if you get in before you're about 5-6 cm dilated, but after that it can actually speed things up/intensify the contractions. I've also heard that getting in too early (not in terms of centimentres dilated, but in terms of how many hours you spend in the water - which obviously you can't predict!) can nullify the anti-tearing benefits of waterbirth. The theory is that tissues "softened" by water will stretch better, but tissues that are "waterlogged" will tear more easily. Although, now I write that down I'm not sure it actually makes sense. :p


Generally speaking you won't be able to leap into the tub as soon as you have your first contraction anyway - the tub takes a good long while to fill and/or heat! Anyway, I'd rather have a somewhat longer, more comfortable labour than a shorter, more painful one. I was only allowed to labour in the water for an hour with DD, because it WAS slowing me down (and I was on the clock - induction for pre-e); I wouldn't say it made the contractions any more fun and Christmassy, but being able to relax BETWEEN them was superb. I'm aiming for a waterbirth this time round, but I probably won't hop in until 5cm or so.

post #15 of 16

Hey, mrsbrunette!!!  It's me, Marilyn!  I'm really no help, because both my labors went pretty fast.  I got in the tub with J about an hour before he was born ;)  There was no slowing me down at the point I was at.  Of course, in hindsight, I was probably in labor all day.  I was really crampy all day at work, had bloody show when I stopped at Chipotle to pick up dinner on my way home (in the bathroom, of course, lol!), realized my labor was imminent while I was at home eating said dinner (around 8:00 or so) and J was born at 1:30am!  I think if I hadn't been working that day, I would have realized sooner that I was in labor...or taken the crampiness more seriously...and if I had been home to prep the tub, etc earlier on to even try to get in it earlier, I would be better equipped to answer your question, haha!


Anyway, I mostly wanted to reply because I hadn't 'seen' you here on mdc before and wanted to say hi!  lol.gif  HI!

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

lol hey marilyn!!!! 


this is late, but thanks for all the tips guys.  im feeling better about it and probably wont get in until the last minute knowing me.

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