Why a water birth?
I have an article from a newspaper, which I’ve saved since 1999. I read it in the Metro when I was 19 years old. It was about water births, and even then I thought: one day, eventually, that’s what I want. Everything I read in the article seemed so logical to me, it just seemed like the ultimate way to give birth.
Now, years and years later, it’s finally happening, and I am actually preparing to have a water birth. Or I should say, we’re preparing to have a water birth. If you live in Zeeland and you want to have a water birth, then you have to give birth at home. There are (unfortunately) no hospitals in Zeeland, which offer water births. I want to give birth at home anyway, but it is a pity that there are no other options available.
A lot of people have been asking me: why do you want a water birth? Well, here it comes:
- Water helps with relaxation, and relaxation is the most important ingredient for a successful birth. The more you relax, the more endorphins you produce. And endorphins are good – they’re natural painkillers.
- Water stimulates the production of oxytocin, and that makes contractions stronger.
- Water stimulates your circulation. This is great news for your uterus, because it gets more blood, which helps prevent muscle fatigue and cramping.
- Warm water helps to keep the perineum soft and supple, which reduces the chance of a tear or an episiotomy.
- In the water you feel lighter, and can change positions more easily (if you have a special birth tub which is big enough, of course)
- The baby’s transition from womb to ‘real world’ is a lot gentler. As long as the baby is not yet out of the water, it doesn’t even know it’s been born. In theory you could keep the baby under the water for as long as you want, although that is not recommended.
Research done in 2010 (Dutch) shows that women who have a water birth have shorter births, fewer episiotomies, and ask for less pain relief. In England water is usually recommended before an epidural is offered.
I’ve chosen this kind of tub:: http://www.waterbirth.org/birth-pool-in-a-box ein the ‘regular’ size. `the reason that I want this tub is because it is big enough to possibly have a second person join you in it, should Denny wish to do so. It’s deep enough to get your belly completely under water, and you can easily change position in it. I have the tub via the Facebook group “de Vrije geboorte” (Free Birth). This is a Facebook group which revolves around honouring and protecting the natural birth process. It’s a private group in which women can support and help each other. One condition of joining is that you have read or are busy reading the book ‘Vrije Geboorte’.
One part of the group is a list of birth tubs, which you can sign u for. A number of wonderful women have bought a tub, which they now offer on loan for free, so that other couples can also have the same experience. The only thing, which needs to be purchased, is a new cover, for hygiene reasons. Other places where you can hire a birth tub in the Netherlands are:
Recently Denny and I practised setting up the tub (which isn’t difficult). Now we just have to hope that I make it to 37 weeks without any problems, and that I don’t go past 42 weeks, so that I’ll at least have a chance to try the tub at home!
If I do give birth at home in the tub it will be a dream come true, but if things don’t go according to plan, then that’s ok too. I’m going into this with an open mind, and we’ll see what happens. One thing is for sure: I’m looking forward to it. Yes, really. I want to know what it’s like to give birth, no matter what it’s like!
An example of a water birth where I have attended as a photographer: https://fermontfotografie.nlen/home-water-birth-meant-to-be