Water birth is particularly helpful if you have PGP. The support of the water allows you to move around easily, which can be very difficult on dry land, and you can change position with very little effort, even if you are normally very immobile. The warmth of the water also provides great pain relief in labour, and can also be used during pregnancy for pain relief. Most hospitals and birth centres now have pools – ask your midwife about the options – or you can hire or buy a portable one quite cheaply to use at home.
Some midwives are concerned about getting women in and out of the pool. This is easy – perch on the edge of the pool with someone standing behind you, and ask another helper to help you to lift your legs together into the pool. To get out, reverse the process. If the rim of the pool is too narrow, you can put a high stool or perching stool next to the pool and do the same thing. In an emergency, they can get you out in the same way they would evacuate anyone else (and this very rarely happens anyway).
If you or your midwife are concerned about being able to use the pool, ask to speak to the supervisor of midwives who is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She is there to promote safe practice and woman-centred care, so will be able to discuss the pros and cons with you.
“My hire pool arrived 3 weeks before the baby was due (5 weeks before she arrived!) and I used it most evenings to relax in and for general pain relief."