Birthing Pool Positions

There has been many studies and much research undertaken into the benefits of using water for labor and birth, similarly there has been articles written on the subject of using water and hydrotherapy in labor and how it can help women with pain relief.  One of the most significant papers was the 2007 NICE guidelines which recommended that women should be offered the use of water in labor and since then the National Health Service (UK)  providers have been increasing their water birth provision and services in order to offer birth pools as part of their standard maternity care, specifically for pain relief in labor.

This has seen a step change in the UK maternity care waterbirth provision and we have seen a large increase in birthing pool installations in UK hospitals and birth centers.   In the USA provision has to date been held back by the lack of a positive position on use of water for labor from ACOG.  The 2017 ACOG paper “Approaches to Limit Intervention During Labor and Birth”  stating that water immersion in labour may be beneficial for some women is another step in the right direction for the midwives in the USA.   Many Midwives in the US have experience of water labor and/or water birth are awaren of the multiple positions women adopt in the water.

We know using water can help laboring mothers to adopt a more comfortable position if the birth pool they are using has sufficient space and the water depth is deep enough to allow the mother freedom of movement.  Midwives observe that women move easily and spontaneously as they respond to their body’s signals because their buoyancy in water offers them the feeling of weightlessness.

The design of our birthing pools makes it possible for midwives to move easily around the rim of the birth pool on 3 sides  and support mothers as they experiment with various labor positions.

The unique molded control and monitoring device on our birth pool has benefits to both mother and midwife, mothers can move around the birthing pool and use the control point to hold during contractions, we have also noticed that depending on the position women can hold the device with two hands and rest their head on their hands (see image1)   This molded handle also helps midwives by offering them a monitoring point it allow midwives easy access so that they can monitor the baby and check the heartbeat without the midwife having too reach too far which can cause strain on the back. The cut out section is the perfect shape for her arm to extend into the pool onto the mother’s abdomen. (see image2)

Some positions women take when in a birthing pool:

  • Squatting and holding onto the sides of the birth pool.
  • Kneeling, leaning forward onto the side of the pool, placing their hands on the internal step or wrapping their arms around their birth partner’s neck. Note: placing a folded hospital towel in the base of the birthing pool can help to increase comfort and take some of the pressure off her knees.
  • Floating on her back with hands over the deck or rim of the pool and her head resting on the side of the pool. Alternatively, you can place floats under her arms to help her to float more comfortably.
  • Resting with her back against her birth partner’s front as they sit in the pool with her.

Not all pools (often called tubs)  sold as birthing pools have been designed from the ground up for labor and birth. For more information on our birthing pools, visit our website. Edel Immersys

Posted by: Jane Hewitt - 11/12/2017

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