As you may know, I’m very interested in pursuing a waterbirth so, naturally, I’m reading up about it in order to prepare myself and Mr. Handsome.
The first book I read, Choosing Waterbirth, was a great primer and helped prepare the emotional side of my brain for this experience. This next book, however, took my preparation to a whole new level.
Much like her book Active Birth, The Waterbirth Book, by Janet Balaskas, is a comprehensive account of every detail of waterbirth that I could possible thing of, and then some.
Ms. Balaskas not only goes over a brief history of waterbirth, cultural uses of water during birth and pain management using water, but she also walks the reader through every stage of water labor and delivery. Any question that was lingering in my mind after reading Choosing Waterbirth has now been answered. Now I’m only left with a list of questions for the hospital about their policies. And an incredible excitement for what we could experience with this birth plan!
Here are some of my questions for the hospital after reading this book:
- When do you fill up the pool? When we call to say we’re coming in (based on our assumed progress/timing of contractions)? When we get there and progress has been assessed?
- How long does it take to fill the pool? How is water temperature regulated?
- What does the pool look like/what is it made of? (Based on photos I’ve seen, our hospital uses inflatable pools that look about 5-6′ in diameter and maybe 2-1/3′ tall.)
- At what point during labor is the appropriate time to get in the pool? (The book says 5-6 cm dilated, before transition.) Is there a point at which “the window closes” and it’s too late to get in?
- What things would cause you to ask a woman to leave the pool?
- How do you manage fetal monitoring? How often do you monitor?
- Are partners allowed in the pool? During all stages?
- Is there a time limit for being in the pool? (This book states most births occur within 3-4 hours of getting in the pool.)
- Can the entire third stage (birth of the placenta) be done in the water or is it preferable that this is done on dry land? Will cord blood banking be effected? (We’re donating to a public bank.)
- Finally, the big one, will you let Mr. Handsome “catch” and bring our baby up to the surface?!
See, Ms. Balaskas gives you a whole lot of ammo to make sure you’re fully comfortable with hospital policies regarding waterbirth. I’m totally going to rock our class (coming up in June).
There’s also some great tidbits in here from Active Birth; not so much from a physioloical perspective, more like the reiteration that movement and staying upright is helpful whether on “dry land” or in the water. She also points out that the pool actually facilitates movement as you’re less inclined to get into bed and have greater freedom of motion (one of the birth story quotes talked about being able to move quickly from an all-fours position to a squat which is quite a feat on dry land). Plus you’re in your own little bubble where you can be free to concentrate inward which is a major bonus for me.
Choosing Waterbirth was a great book but there’s nothing in it that The Waterbirth Book doesn’t have, plus it has a whole lot more. If you can only read one book about waterbirth, make it this one by Janet Balaskas!