Water Birth

Birthing pools are available at Pinderfields hospital and Pontefract midwife led unit.  If you want to have a home birth, pools ar available to borrow from Mid Yorkshire Hospitals.    

The calming, soothing properties of water have long been recognised. For many years, Midwives have encouraged women to use water during pregnancy and labour in order to gain these beneficial effects.

Many women use some form of pain relief in labour. Women can choose several different methods and change from one to another as labour progresses. A birth pool can be used as a form of pain relief. Women can also choose to deliver their baby in water.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that being in water during labour provides good pain relief. Women can leave the water at any time and there are no unwanted side-effects. In addition, NICE advises that using a birth pool for pain relief reduces the need for an epidural.

Women react to pain in different ways and although water does not give complete pain relief it can reduce the pain you feel to a manageable level, often so much that you may not need additional methods of pain relief.

People often use warm water to relax and unwind; it eases aches and pains experienced with backache, aching muscles and menstrual pain. In labour, warm water also aids relaxation and eases pain.

Research suggests that the warm, soothing effect of the water helps the body produce endorphin hormones (the body's own natural painkillers). These endorphins also act as mood uplifters, and can also help to stimulate strong womb contractions, making the labour shorter.
When the pool is used for both labour and birth, women have noted: 
  • Greater mobility and comfort 
  • That they do not feel abdominal pressure so much 
  • That they are able to conserve their energy 
  • That pain is easier to manage.

Who Can Use The Pool?

Any woman with a 'low risk' pregnancy, for example 
  • A single pregnancy 
  • If the baby is head first 
  • 37+ weeks of pregnancy has been reached
You would not be able to use the pool if midwives felt that your baby's heart needed to be monitored all the time because of possible complications. 

What do I wear in the pool?

This is entirely up to you; often people choose to wear nothing. However, a large t-shirt or a bikini top is suitable.

What if I need extra pain relief?

Whilst in the pool you may use Entonox (gas and air).

Will my baby’s heartbeat be monitored?

The Midwife will monitor your baby's heartbeat using either a Pinard stethoscope or a waterproof sonicaid, at regular intervals.

What happens when my baby is born?

As soon as your baby is born he/she is brought gently to the surface and the baby's head is then kept above the water. You will then be given time with your baby and your partner to enjoy and savour the moment of birth.

You will be assisted to leave the pool for the placenta to be delivered. If you would like to consider using the pool for either labour or to actually have a waterbirth, you will need to discuss this with your Midwife.

The environment of the pool room is very conducive to a relaxed atmosphere whilst in labour. We use soft lighting where necessary and in the pool there is plenty of room for you to make yourself as comfortable as possible. The buoyancy of the water helps to support your body and you can have your favourite music playing.




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