Paula is more qualified than most to talk about having a water birth at home – she's done it three times!
Paula, who works in the health industry, first got the idea of having a water birth from a midwife colleague. "I've always loved the water," she says, explaining that seeing traditional births in a hospital setting as a trainee nurse had made her keen to try an alternative.
As for what the experience was like, Paula explains that, while it will be different for every woman, for her one of the most valuable advantages was the feeling of freedom and independence she gained from having a water birth at home.
It gives you more privacy and more space around you... There's a midwife there, but ultimately it's your body and you do it yourself.
Another aspect which attracted her to a home birth was having one midwife who was present throughout, rather than the more hectic atmosphere of a maternity ward.
While giving birth for the first time, it made a difference to have the 'lovely' and 'really experienced' midwife that she had seen throughout pregnancy on hand, Paula says.
But Paula recognises that a water birth is not for everyone. For one thing, gas and air are the only pain relief methods that are likely to be available if you choose to have a water birth at home.
"You have to gauge the level of intervention you want. If you want to have an epidural or TENS, you aren't going to be able to have it."
It isn't necessarily for the squeamish either. Paula's work in the health industry means she's seen it all, but others might not be so hardy. "When my waters broke as I was getting in the pool, I remember thinking it looked like a massive haggis!" she laughs.
Mums-to-be also need to think about whether they will be comfortable sitting in the pool for what might be many hours. It all comes down to 'whether you're a bath person or a shower person', according to Paula.
"I've always been really comfortable in water," she explains, describing herself as 'a bit of an earth mother'.
Would she recommend it to other women? "Absolutely, 100 per cent."
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