Experts recommend that you enter the birth pool at 4cm – 5 cm dilation. For safety reasons, you should place the small anti-slip mat (included in our water birth kit) in the area where the mother will enter and exit the birth pool.
To enter the pool, we recommend that the mother sits on the side of the pool (the side chamber) and that she sling one leg over the edge into the water followed by the other. Another way to enter the birth pool is by using the seat as a step into the pool. In either way, we encourage partners to support the mother whenever she enters or exits the pool. It is also possible to deflate the middle ring of the pool to make entering and exiting easier. By deflating the middle ring, the instep will be lower and there will still be enough height to contain the water.
The softness of the floor, the seat, and sides of the pool make it easier to assume comfortable positions. The water will make you feel weightless and will also make it easier to adjust your position. The handles allow you to hold yourself during contractions. The soft floor allows you to sit on your knees for long periods without any pain.
In consultation with your midwife, you can be monitored inside or outside of the birth pool. You can exit the pool every 2 hours for your health check or a washroom break, after which you can go back into the pool. This way, you will still benefit from the analgesic effects of the warm water.
* Remove any small debris from the water with the strainer and discard.
You can choose to have your baby outside of the birth pool. Your midwife may also choose for your baby to be born outside the pool. In addition, your midwife may also recommend that the second stage of your labour be spent outside of the pool. This does not mean that your water birth was not successful! The first stage of labour (dilation) is the longest stage; the need for pain relief and freedom of mobility is greater in this stage. Taking on different birthing positions will speed up your labour. Therefore, even if you do not give birth to your baby in the water, you are still benefitting from the birth pool.
When the baby is born in the water, you can use the seat in the pool to bond with your newborn. The newborn can be placed on the mother’s chest, ensuring that the baby’s head is above water. Cutting the umbilical cord can take place in the water.
The same techniques used to enter the pool are used to exit the pool, but please make sure that the mother is supported! Also, make sure that towels and bathrobes are available for mother and child to prevent them from cooling down.
After delivery of the newborn, the birth pool can be emptied and cleaned.