Water is a wonderful, natural way to manage the intensity of labour. Once you are well established in labour, getting into a birth pool provides instant relief. The warm water soothes, and the buoyancy allows you to move around, which also assists in managing the intensity of labour. You can kneel or squat or lie, and rest on the comfortable edge between contractions. There are no side effects in using water as there are no drugs or substances crossing the placenta. Water has been shown to reduce the need for pharmacological pain relief and the incidence of perineal trauma and obstetric interventions.
In 2009 the WA Labour and Birth in Water clinical guidelines and consumer leaflet were released to support water birth as an option in public (not private) hospitals. This is being rolled out progressively as midwives receive training in looking after women labouring in water. Currently the King Edward Memorial Hospital (Family Birth Centre and Labour Ward), Fiona Stanley Hospital and Armadale Hospital offer waterbirth. Always ask if this is what you would like, as the hospitals that provide this will be ever changing.
If you are planning a water birth you may need to organise your own birth pool and liner. At least two weeks before your due date you should also work out how to make the pool ready for use and what extras you might need to assist with safety and comfort. Pools can be bought from Simply Birth for, or they can be hired from TheBumpWA. You can book your birth hire pool package through the shop.