Water Birth for Labor Comfort - Explore Tub Options

Midwife Attended Water BirthLaboring and giving birth in the water has become a staple of the natural pregnancy and home birth movement over the years. But water birth isn’t just a midwifery-based fad, it is highly recommended by Austin midwives because of the many benefits to the labor, mama, and baby. These include but are not limited to the fact that:

  • Water has the capacity to relieve stress during labor because buoyancy helps the mother find more comfortable positioning, relax all of her muscles while immersed in the water, assist in the lowering of blood pressure and enable more efficient contractions.
  • And the baby is born into a less shocking environment – moving from the water of the amniotic sac into the water of the pool, creating a calm energy for baby’s first moments in the world before being pulled out of the water and onto the mama’s chest.

If those benefits make sense and/or giving birth in the water intrigues you, one of the things you will want to do during your prenatal care is learn about birth tubs. Women have found many kinds of ‘tubs’ for this use – everything from the bathtub in your own home, to a plastic blow up tub, to a large cattle trough sterilized just for this situation. While the options are many, the most commonly recommended type is the blow up birth tubs, similar to a kiddie pool blown up during the summer. Here are some of the reasons why laboring mothers favor these tubs:

  • Depth – You want the water to be as high as your midsection while you are laboring. Too shallow and you don’t reap the benefits of buoyancy. Too deep and you might find it hard to maneuver.
  • Cushion – Many women find they labor most comfortably on their hands and knees or with their legs bent. Air filled sections create the cushion a mother needs to labor comfortably.
  • Handles – A variety of positions can be good, but some of those benefit from the use of handles to both stabilize the position you are in and give you something to hold on to in moments of intensity.
  • Location – A blow up tub is portable prior to labor, meaning you can decide which room and where in the room you would like it based on what is most convenient for how you envision your laboring process.

IMG_1843You might also wonder, what comes in a birth tub kit? Some things you need will include a method to blow the tub up, tools to fill it with water, and a method of protecting your floor from any water that may be spilled as you get in or out. The most common items that a birth kit might include are:

  • The plastic blow up pool itself, folded in the box.
  • An electric air pump to blow the pool up.
  • A water pump to remove the water after the birth.
  • A hose.
  • A plastic liner for inside the pool to aid in better clean up.
  • Kits can also include: A debris net – like the small fish nets used in aquariums, used by the midwives to scoop any undesirable excretions out of the tub quickly and quietly so that you can labor free of embarrassment. A floating water thermometer to make sure you do not overheat the water. And tarps or liners for underneath the tub to protect your flooring.

So you’re ready to have a water birth? Don’t worry Heirloom Midwifery has you covered! Mandy is certified in water birth by Waterbirth International. As part of your care package you can use her Birth Pool In a Box Eco Mini. All you will have to provide is a new hose and faucet adapter to fill it with water on the big day. She will even set it up and take it down so you don’t need to worry about cleaning up after yourself while you’re snuggling with your new baby.

If you want to purchase your own birth tub you’re more than welcome to! They are affordable, delivered in a timely manner, and provide all the major features laboring mamas need. There are many sources for renting or buying a birth tub, so here are a few other reliable options that are well respected for home births:

Whether you choose to birth in the water or not, in a blow up tub or your own bathtub, at a birth center or in your own home – it’s wise to know your options. What do you think about home water births? Do you have a favorite birth tub? Let me know in the comments below!


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