Three Things you Need to Know About Water Births

26/02/2016 10:46 | Updated 25 February 2017

What do I wear? Will I get cold? And what happens if I poop? these are the most common questions my clients ask about water births.

As someone who's had a water birth and who teaches Wise Hippo hypnobirthing to lots of couples who want to have water births, I wanted to answer these questions here and share some other benefits about water births.

Because you know what? Whether the couples I teach want to give birth in their local birth centre, on the delivery suite, or at home, most of them want to do it in water. And why not?

For most of us, being in warm water equals relaxation - think sea water warmed by the sun, baths or hot tubs - aaaah. And relaxation is key when it comes to hypnobirthing, and having a calm and positive birth.

For me, being in hot water, is actually one of the most relaxing, yummy, pampering things I can do.

And although you're told all the way through your pregnancy that you can't go in jacuzzis or steam rooms (I've always wondered what pregnant women in really, really hot counties do?!). When you sink into your birth pool, you and your baby will love how cosy and warm it is. The optimum temperature for a birth pool is between 34º-37º.

So no, to answer the first question you won't get cold, in fact I got pretty hot, which brings me to the next question: what to wear when having a water birth?

Wear whatever makes you feel like a goddess about to bring another human into the world! Or wear something really comfy!

I wore a black H&M breastfeeding vest top because it was soft and stretchy! You can wear nothing or you can wear a vest/ t-shirt, but remember the water is hot.

You might want to treat yourself to a new comfy top especially for the occasion. Remember though, If dads/dads-to-be want to jump in too, they should pack some trunks or speedos!

Those having a home birth will often ask if they have to have their own pool? Some people choose to have a home birth because they want a water birth so much, they want to know that a pool will be free - and no one else will be using yours. If you do want to get your own pool I got ours from Made in water.

One of my fave memories was having the 'dry run' - ahem, I mean the wet run, two weeks before I gave birth. Just so we knew how long it would take to fill the pool and so I could relax in my own hot tub, eat Ben & Jerrys, watch Frasier and listen to my hypnobithing mp3s

I loved having a pool birth, as I felt safe, cosy, supported, relaxed and warm.

Some other benefits of having a water birth:

  • Water births increase oxytocin and endorphins and reduce anxiety and stress (exactly what you want during labour, more oxytocin and less stress).
  • Baby is born into a similar environment to the one it has just been in (when my little girl came out, she didn't cry. The midwives were impressed with how relaxed she was).
  • The pool supports your weight (which is an amazing feeling in itself right at the end of your pregnancy)
  • Water births are also thought to reduce the risk of perineal repair (the warmth of the water helps to increase blood flow to the perineum).

And you know what, to answer the final question in my opening line (didn't think I was just going to slink away without answering the poop question did you?).

I remember saying to my husband after my amazing hypnobirth, all glowing and proud:

'You know what? I didn't even do a poo!'

'Yes you did', he said 'a few times, but the midwife had a sieve and fished them out.'

So there you go, if you do poop, you probably won't even notice!

Deborah Pryn writes for various magazines and blogs at Riverside Hypnobirthing You can watch some fantastic videos of Water births here: Birth videos and read water birth stories here