With Water, Childbirth Was More Comfortable for Me
I've always loved water, and the idea of a water childbirth intrigued me from the moment I first heard about it. Some of my friends used a birth tub to labor in at a hospital and mentioned that the water helped ease the pain of contractions. Because of hospital protocols in my area, I never got to experience a water birth until I had a home birth for my fifth child.
I love to swim, and the most relaxing thing I can do after a long hard day is to soak in a nice warm bathtub. Hot tubs have always been a favorite of mine. I find floating in water soothing and comforting. So, I figured, why would it feel otherwise during labor?
I never really thought about using a birth tub when I was laboring in the hospital because it wasn't an option offered to me. But I do remember wanting a nice hot soak after delivering my first baby. My labor was long and tiring; unfortunately, I couldn't take a bath because I'd just given birth. The nurses helped clean me up and they brought me to a room where I could rest. I took a shower the next morning. I had really wanted a soak in a tub, but that was not to be. It wasn't until years later that I learned about the concept of a water birth.
Years later, I talked with a friend of mine who gave birth in a hospital in England. She described how she used a birth tub during the birth of her first baby. She explained how, with the addition of water, childbirth became a much more comfortable experience. She lamented that, after moving to the United States, she didn't have access to a tub in which to use during the births of her other children. It was then that I learned that our local hospitals didn't have birth tubs.
When I was pregnant with my fifth baby, the idea of a water childbirth intrigued me. My desire to have a water birth led me to consider a home birth. My midwife provided us with a large birth tub, filled it with water, and kept it comfortably warm during labor. When I was in active labor, I stepped into the tub and I felt as though my contractions simply melted away. Being in the water brought me a great deal of relief; I wished I'd been able to just step into a birth tub during my four previous labor experiences.
I was happy to hear from a labor and delivery nurse that some of my local hospitals were recently discussing plans to offer a birth tub option for women who wanted to use one. If I were having a baby another and I wanted to deliver at the hospital, I would definitely look into using a birth tub. I think many women would find great comfort and relief in the water.