Hey girl hey! Are you planning a water birth? “What to wear” and “how to prepare” are the two questions I get asked the most. These are great questions, because let’s be real, giving birth is messy and deciding to go the natural route is scary. Stress should be as low as possible during pregnancy, and worrying about what to wear for your birth plan should be the last thing on your mind. You have so many options ranging from your birthday suit to a t-shirt. Mama, it’s really up to you to choose whatever makes you feel the most comfortable! So, you know how much I love to share and help where I can, and my water birth experience is not off limits. So, let’s have a quick chat about why I decided to go through with a water birth.
The Benefits of a Water Birth
Choosing to give birth in water has a wide array of benefits for you and the baby. I can attest the fact that being in warm water is a source of pain relief during labor, it certainly helped me relax! This happens by reducing adrenalin and promoting the release of the body’s natural hormones to cope with labor pains. Also, being in water can help to support your weight, making it much easier when switching positions allowing more control during labor.
And here’s a fun fact regarding water births, because I know you’re curious about the possibility of your baby drowning; Newborn babies do not need to use their lungs to breathe when they are in the womb because they get oxygen from the blood that comes from you through the placenta. The birthing pool is kept at a regulated temperature ( the same as or close to your body temperature) and will not stimulate your baby to breathe. Your baby will not take their first breath until he or she senses a change in temperature and has the feeling of air on their skin. So, Mama, you have nothing to worry about. Delivering your baby in water poses little to no risk of your baby drowning from giving birth in water.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Water Birth?
To every pro, there is a con. So here are the possible disadvantages of having a water birth; please note that this is not an exhaustive list of what may be of your concern when choosing to have a water birth. I do encourage you to research further. The first thing I want to make clear is that the water is your pain relief. So, depending on your pain tolerance this can be a shocker. In case you need further clarification, you are will not have pain meds. The pain relief options a hospital would be able to provide, such as an epidural will not be available.
What to do in place of pain meds
Also, you can’t have opioids for at least six hours before you get into the pool. However, there is this cool concoction of gas and air called Entonox. Gas and air during labor are a mild, fast-acting way of relieving your pain. It is completely safe for your baby and the extra oxygen you breathe in can be good for you and your baby, but it can also cause you to feel drowsy and sick.
Some have experienced slowed labor while in water, but I wouldn’t worry too much about this because if this happens, your Midwife will escort you out of the water to return at a later stage of labor. The last thing I would like to mention is that if under any circumstance there is a complication, you may need to leave the pool. It is important to be mindful that even if it is in your birth plan, getting in the birthing pool does not mean you cannot get out. This is your birth, and your midwife will do their best to accommodate your needs. Even if those change. Your midwife will carry out observations on you and your baby to ensure you remain well and safe.
How to Prepare for a Water Birth
If you are like me and the birthing pool is most appealing to your birth experience, then I’m sure you’re also curious about how to prepare for such a moment. Going into this, I knew my previous births could affect my ability to have a water birth. Having had three c-sections and a VBAC in between two of them there could be complications. Between my husband and my midwife, Jade, we really made it happen!
Have a trained professional to help during pregnancy, labor & delivery and after is vital. Midwives are that and more. I began research early because it can be hard to get a Midwife, so I recommend you do the same! The continuous support I received, especially in the moments where I wanted to give up, I am so grateful for. Having a Midwife is certainly your first step to preparing for a water birth. Seriously, Jade made this entire experience flow so easily. Things I am most appreciative to have had and you may also need are a jug to pour water over my belly and back, something to pad the floor with; because girl, water was dripping everywhere, peaceful music and massage aids. Oh, and of course my family! I am so glad that we all were able to experience such intimacy together.
Ideas for What to Wear During a Water Birth
Now, yall know how much I love my body and I have no problem showing her off. And I know you love yours, because she has brought you so far and gives life to those beautiful babies I get to see on Instagram! For my water birth outfit, I decided that no clothes were the best clothes to wear while giving birth. But even if you love your body, which I know you do, choosing which clothes to wear during your water birth is completely up to you! Whatever you choose, Mama, just make sure it is what is most comfortable for you! Below, I have provided a list full of options for you to choose from for your birth plan:
A wrap labor top
this soft and drapey top is made of a bathing suit material and designed to be used in place of a hospital gown. Something similar to this top I found on Etsy would work well!
A sports bra
An actual bathing suit top
another great option as a water birth outfit, perfect for summer mamas-to-be. Especially for someone who may not like the feeling of wet clothes. Me, it’s me who hates the feeling of wet clothes on her body.
A comfy tee
can be worn but keep in mind that when baby is born, it is encouraged that you put the baby on your naked body for skin-to-skin, so this could mean taking off the t-shirt at that point. Or at least pulling it up. Which after so many hours of labor could be a lot of work.
A crop top,
like the comfy tee but shorter making skin-to-skin that much easier!
A nursing bralette
has been highly rated as a birthing pool outfit and it was I ultimately ended up choosing. Although by the time my son was born I had stripped down to nothing (see below) lol. These come in so many different styles, with a wire, without one, and ultimately can help make you feel even more pretty while giving birth. Because let’s get real, giving birth is a beautiful thing, why not feel amazing while doing it.
Think about it, you’re in water, who really wants to be bothered with wet clothing? And I for one got really hot and having on clothes was more of a nuance than anything. But this is up to your level of comfort.
What I Wish I Knew About Water Birth
Other than being sure to have the right tools for the actual birth and having those readily available there’s no real way to plan for a water birth at home. Once those labor signs start, call the midwife and fill up the pool!
You may be wondering “is a water birth less painful?”
I say this because everyone’s experience is going to look different. Overall, I’d rate the pain differently for different points in the birth. At one point I was 8 cm dilated and didn’t know. However towards the end (when the baby is descending and getting close to coming out) that pain was a lot less tolerable for me. If I had to give it an average I’d say an 7/10, but again my pain tolerance is pretty high. The warm water really did relax my body, so I’d highly recommend this method. Check out my YouTube video of the birth to see how my midwife also massaged my back during contractions, which was another life saver! I also don’t want to complain because I’d for sure do it again in lieu of my emergency c-sections! I would say pain is expected and so is a little mess.
Which brings me to my next point “What should you expect after water birth?”
Fortunately, this wasn’t my Midwife’s first rodeo, so she provided an entire easy clean-up kit for after birth. In this kit were things such as gauze, gloves, pads, a pool liner, everything found in the hospital. So, Mama, I wouldn’t worry too much about the state of your home, it’ll look just like it did before you deliver your little angel. After giving birth, next comes the placenta. I opted to remain in the birting pool after giving birth to Kaleb. This allowed me to deliver my placenta the same way I delivered my son. Some women may feel faint during this final stage, so changing locations to deliver the placenta is common.
Ultimately, the best thing to wear for water birth is something you feel the most comfortable in because when it is all said and done, you are here to deliver a happy and healthy baby! I am glad to share my experience and shed light on a topic you may have been curious about. I expect that after our chat you now find yourself feeling more prepared to make a knowledgeable decision for your very own birthing experience.
As with everything else, there are pros and there are cons to every decisions.
Which of these sides have the most bullet points for you? Comment and let me know! There is no better choice. Water births can be done at home, in a birthing center or in the hospital. Just be sure you contact and secure a Midwife sooner than later! They are hard to come by and so worth your time; I am still thanking Jade to this day and that was almost a year ago!
I am almost contemplating giving Des another! Lol. Also, now that I have made it through, I can confidently say there is nothing to be afraid of. Save your stress for something else, Mama. I beat the odds and had a very successful at home water birth even after the complications experienced during my other pregnancies. Our bodies know what to do, it truly was made for this. And with the help of your Midwife, you will feel confident in your decision to go through with an at home water birth. Lastly, choosing to have a water birth is not a contract. You are not stuck. Even if it is the day of delivery and you decide you no longer wish to continue with your previous decision, that is your right, and you will be treated accordingly.
Let me know if you have any other questions and which birthing outfit you decide is best for you. Oh! Congratulations Mama, on your journey. You will do great; I just know it!