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Thread: Is it true you should start in the tub later?

  1. #1

    Is it true you should start in the tub later?

    I was told by a friend of mine that her labor slowed while doing a water birth because she got in the tub before she was 8cm dialated. Is this true? She was told it relaxes you so much that it slows your labor. I would like to try a water birth for this baby.

  2. #2
    Hi carlsonang,

    Congratulations on your pregnancy.

    Thank you for your post - this is an interesting topic as I have heard some different views on when it is best to get into the pool during a waterbirth. When I had my son, the midwife said I could get into the pool once I was 4 cm dilated as before this she said it could slow down the start of labour. Does anyone else have any more information on this as I have been wondering if it is ok for me to have a warm bath when contractions start and if it matters if this slows things down?

    There are lots of advantages of using a pool during labour, for example, it helps to relax you so that the contractions are less painful and more effective. Your birth partner can be in the pool with you if you wish to help you to focus on your breathing during the contractions. There is some excellent information on waterbirths here.

    A pool also gives you your own space (whether at home or in hospital) in which to birth your baby in as calm an environment as possible.

    Are you thinking of using a pool in the hospital or at home?

    Best wishes,

    Last edited by ljmarsden; 10th June 2012 at 12:59 AM.

  3. #3
    p.s. I have just found this useful article on Waterbirths which answers your question in more detail.

    It advises that there is research to show if you are immersed in warm water before 5cm dilation then this can slow labour and even stop it. Therefore, you could have a 'trial period' in the water to see if it is slowing your contractions and if it is then maybe wait a bit longer until you use the pool.

  4. #4
    I am going to be in a birthing center in a hospital. I just would never feel comfortable having my baby at home because I live so far from a hospital.

  5. #5
    I would wait until you are over 5 CM and labor has taken on a steady, strong pace. Getting in too soon can slow things down for some women. With my doula clients, I typically avoid water therapy early on and start with applying pressure from the shower before going to the tub.

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Hi CarlsonAng,

    How exciting that you're going to have your baby in a birthing center that allows for labouring in the water. You definitely SHOULD try a waterbirth. I had two homebirths outside of the water and three water births. My waterbirths were by far the easiest, fastest births, and I didn't tear at all with them (I had an episiotomy with the first and tore just a little with the other two). The water naturally relaxes the perineum so you don't tear, or don't tear as badly. Your doula or midwife can also put some oil on your perineum when you're in the water to help with the stretching and lessen the friction of baby's head on your perineum.

    Water can slow contractions, HOWEVER, a skilled midwife will often know when the best time is for you to get in the water. If contractions slow, then you can get out and let them pick back up. I laboured in the water with 4 of my pregnancies and this is how those went:

    #1 - Posterior baby giving me back labour. Midwife showed up at 5AM and turned my baby into an anterior position (face down). I immediately went from 3cm to 5cm (due to better positioning of baby's head on my cervix). I had a few more contractions and then got into the tub. I LOVED the tub. The warm water was very helpful for me. I had just a normal sized bath tub, so I used a cup to pour water over my belly. Labour didn't slow down. My bag of waters popped while I was in the water (convenient) and I got out at 9cm to have my baby (the midwife even considered letting me have her in the water, but I was too concerned that it wasn't safe for baby - I hadn't educated myself about it).

    Baby #2 - The midwife let me get in the water when I wanted to. I don't remember how far along I was, but I do remember my contractions slowing way up as soon as I hit the water. I remember sitting there and not having a contraction for 20 minutes, whereas before that, I had been having very regular contractions much closer together. I called for my husband and focused on just relaxing and not thinking about all the people who were downstairs. Labour picked back up, but I laboured for a long time in the bath, until my midwife had me get out and sit on the lu so that she could pop my bag and get contractions going faster. That midwife broke my bag because she wanted me to progress faster (she wanted to go home sooner) and I didn't know any better. That was the most uneventful birth of all of them. When things picked up, they really picked up. I had my baby 2 hours after she broke my bag.

    Baby #3 - Didn't have time to get in the water.

    Baby #4 - Different midwife, this time. One who doesn't break bags unless it's truly necessary. This was a planned water birth in a birthing tub. I know that I probably laboured with regular contractions from 3PM to 10PM before getting in the water. Baby was born in the wee hours of the night, and I'm not sure how far dilated I was before they let me get in the water. My bag broke naturally, in the water.

    Baby #5 - Same midwife as last time, and planned water birth in a birthing tub. By now I had heard that water can slow labour. When the midwife first arrived, she had me do some lunges in order to bring baby down into a good position on my cervix. Once I had done those, she said I could get into the water if I wanted to. She was tired, as it was a 3 day weekend, and she had already been to 2 births. So she told me I could get in the water anytime I wanted to. I asked her if she was sure, and she said it would be fine. She went to lay down and sleep, while she left me in the competent hands of a midwife and a lay midwife. As soon as I hit that water, things picked up. It totally relaxed me and my body said "go". That baby was born very quickly. In fact I remember asking one of the attending midwives to please go and wake up my main midwife because I wanted her to check me (contractions were so intense that I wanted an official, accurate check by my midwife).

    The other midwife said that she shouldn't wake her up because it hadn't been that long, and I simply couldn't have progressed that quickly. I insisted, though, and my sister-in-law (the lay midwife) encouraged her to get my main midwife too.

    Well, I was 9 cm and had just a little lip, but the midwife said I could push anytime I felt the urge. My bag was still in tact. In fact my bag broke just before I started pushing. I later learned from my midwife that she had heard me throw up while she was sleeping (I only did this once) and it's a sign that labour is becoming more intense, so she had a feeling I was progressing quickly. My sister-in-law told me that she could tell by the way I was labouring that I was in transition and had progressed very quickly.

    So those are my water labour experiences. Babies won't try to breath until their face hits air, so having a water birth is safe for baby. Sure wish I had known that from the start. I'm such a water girl!

    Hope you will go for a water birth. They are WONDERFUL!

    Warm regards,


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