Why I’m Not Planning a Water Birth This Time Around

This post is part of our Grace for the Pregnant Mom series. See all the posts here.

With our first child, my husband and I decided that we wanted to have a natural, un-medicated birth. We also planned to give birth in a birthing tub full of luxurious water (aka, have a water birth). Now that we are embarking on our second labor and delivery, we are still convinced we want to have our baby naturally and this time at home. But this time, I’m not interested in a water birth.

Why I’m Not Planning a Water Birth This Time Around

1. I want to be more grounded. While floating in a birthing tub of water is wonderful, and for most people wonderfully relaxing, it just isn’t for me. I never felt fully grounded while laboring in a pool of water. I’m more of a shower person. I might give that a try this time.

2. Getting out to pee is brutal. It might just be me, but when I was in labor I thought I needed to empty my bladder every five minutes (yes, of course I’m exaggerating). Seriously, I was so concerned that I was going to pee in the water (or worse…) that I kept getting out to go to the bathroom. That was frigid, y’all – like getting out of the pool in the middle of winter! Plus I’d rather not have to lift my legs that high (or at all) during labor while a baby is hanging out at the entrance. Just sayin’.

3. I need my husband. When I was in the birthing tub, we just couldn’t get comfortable together in order for him to rub my back and talk me through contractions. The positions were never right and it was more frustrating than relaxing. I kept floating up and away from him. He ended up being disconnected from my mental processes of labor because I needed him to rub my back. My mom was my coach, which was not our plan, but it went beautifully anyway. I just love my husband and know he’s my greatest earthly comfort. I sort of want him more present with me this time around.

4. More mental freedom. My labor was fast and furious (4.5 hours from start to finish). Relaxing in the tub for a water birth is what I had planned and that’s what I did. Looking back, I wish I had allowed myself more freedom to get out and move around. I might have found better positions to cope with the labor pains. Once I was forced out of the tub to actually push my baby out due to oxygen levels, I found I actually liked being on all fours and had my munchkin out in a jiffy. I have to wonder how long I was forcing myself to push in the water when I could have come on out and not dealt with low oxygen levels in the first place!

I’m not planning to have a water birth this time around. I’m not really planning anything at all. I’m giving myself freedom to listen to my body and work to find the labor positions that work for my baby and for me.

I think water birth sounds wonderful, and I have many friends who have thoroughly enjoyed their experience. I do think having a water birth is a great option for giving birth naturally, and I would highly recommend looking into it. However, I should have kept my personality in mind when I set out to have a water birth.

I don’t regret my birth, and we did have a wonderful, wonderful experience. But I look forward to seeing how this labor and delivery goes with baby number two without a firm idea of what kind of birth I want to have.

Did you have a water birth? What was your experience?

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the post in our series, Grace for the Pregnant Mom.

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  1. I think I really did stop to pee every 5 minutes at the end labor this past time. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I was standing most of the time anyway so it wasn’t bad.

  2. Giving yourself freedom to choose…that’s a good plan to have. ๐Ÿ™‚ I found laboring in water so relaxing for my first and third…and couldn’t stand it for my second. I was hoping for a water birth with my first and third…but we never made it to the birth center in time. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was surprised at how each pregnancy and each labor was so very different. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Because I’ve learned each pregnancy is different, as each child is different, I’m just going to take it one contraction at a time. It just seems like a better plan in my head. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I had the option of a water birth for my first daughter, and did labour in the tub for quite a while, but when transition hit I found the water wasn’t helping with my pain so I got out. I used the shower for all three of my births as the hot water directly on my back (or stomach) really helped with the pain. Like you, I just did whatever felt right at the time. So for my third daughter’s birth recently, I did squats every time a contraction hit. It got me through the pain, though my midwife was amazed at how many squats I did and thought I’d be sore the next day (I wasn’t). I didn’t plan to do squats – that’s just what worked then. ๐Ÿ™‚ Blessings on your birth!

    1. Oh thanks for sharing that! I will definitely keep it in mind. I think transition is the point I should have come out and tried something different as well. But I didn’t know any better and I was set on my plan, I think. My current midwife is big on showers during labor, so I imagine that will be a recommendation when I’m figuring out what to do. And amazing on the squats! What a great idea!

  4. I’ve had two water births, and I’m planning a third. My first experience (a son) was similar to yours, except that after I got out of the pool, I still had to work really hard to get him out. But I did love the warth and buoyancy. With my second waterbirth (a daughter), I got a smaller birth pool so I wouldn’t flail so much, and the pool wasn’t set up until 20 minutes before her birth. I was already past transition, so it took just a few pushes for her to be born. One of the main differences, I feel, was being able to brace my feet against the opposite side of the pool and really push. And while you felt disconnected from your support team in the pool, I prefer the little space all my own that it creates. I even take off my glasses so everyone will be fuzzy and I won’t get distracted. I agree with your plan for flexibility, though. I definitely want the birth pool available, but if the birth doesn’t happen there, I won’t feel cheated. God bless.

    1. Love hearing this! My midwife also mentioned that smaller birth pools are way better. But I also have an awesome tub at home so if I do want to labor in water I still can. I’m surprised at how often I’m turning to baths to make it through these last weeks. We shall see, right? Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for this post. I had a very traumatic first birth and water labor or birth wasn’t even an option. I realized when reading this post that I had sort of set up water birth as this ideal – like if I could just have that it would fix everything. So thanks for your perspective – it’s nice to hear all the stories and see that even water birth doesn’t work for everyone!

  6. I wanted to relax in the tub with my first. Didn’t have time. ๐Ÿ™‚ (4 1/2 hours) Definitely didn’t have time with my second (1 1/2 hours). I have no plans with the third other than just making it in time ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ha!

  7. My labor had started 6 days before my son was born, but I was able to get used to it and mostly ignore the contractions which were staying steady at 5 minutes apart. In between the time my contractions started and when I gave birth, I celebrated Christmas at the place we had been renting and then packed up and moved all our stuff to our parent’s. My husband had just graduated college, and since we had been invited to live there until he found a job… Well, it was where I wanted to give birth anyway- so why not? Please don’t pack and move while in labor… Not fun!
    Midwife said the baby was fine, and to call her if anything changed. The day before my son was born all the family showed up to visit for the in-law’s “Christmas”. We had a blast! I went shopping with my husband’s sisters for some last minute gifts, one of them got a bike which I ended up riding around Walmart because it was easier than walking… Then we went back to the house and played games until midnight when everyone decided to go to bed. A snow storm had just started.
    I got undressed, climbed in bed and… Looky there! My water broke! My loving husband asked if maybe I just wet the bed… Nope, it was definitely my water. Called the midwife and she said to get some sleep while I still could and call her when the contractions got worse. I woke up 4 hours later… Went to the bathroom and never left it!
    By this time my husband was looking out the window going, oops. The roads were covered! Turns out that snow storm was actually a blizzard, and dumped 18 inches of snow in just hours. Nobody was going anywhere…
    About 6am his Mom came upstairs and asked if we wanted to go to the hospital… My husband looked at her and tried not to laugh. We had prepared for an “unassisted” home birth, just in case, so we felt pretty good about it! Okay, he felt pretty good about it- I was past caring.
    I expected my contractions to hurt a lot more than they did, and was worried that nothing was actually happening. My mom had somehow managed to make it to us, and she was wonderful at keeping me focused. My favorite part of the whole birth was the transition. It actually felt like my body was doing what it was supposed to! Looking back I’m glad the pain wasn’t bad, but in the moment it was scary.
    I ended up moving into the bathtub after transition, just because my muscles were so sore. I hadn’t wanted a water birth, and don’t really want another one… But whatever works, works! I do wish we had thought to put a towel under me, because that tub was hard.
    Right after my son’s head moved into the birth canal, my contractions completely stopped. I know this is normal now, the way your body lets you rest before having to push… I was soooo sick of being in labor that I refused to wait till they came back. I pushed for 30 minutes before his head was out, but at least I didn’t tear.
    I stood up, climbed out of the tub and the rest of him slipped right out and his daddy caught him. I laid on the bathroom floor and my sister-in-law came and cut the cord… She accidentally used twist-ties instead of the cord-ties. (They worked fine!) I put him to my breast for awhile, then went to bed. I have to say, it was exactly perfect for us. I had the most wonderful birth experience with him.
    My second birth I ended up in the ER at 18 weeks as we lost our daughter. I had morphine, three IV lines and ended up with a curettage because the placenta wouldn’t come out. I hemorrhaged and needed three units of blood and a unit of plasma.
    I am 12 weeks pregnant with my third, and I am desperately praying that my required hospital birth is very similar to my home birth. No pain meds, husband involved, allowed to move how I want, and no IV’s! Next time I hope to have another home birth.

    1. This is just such a cool story! Thanks for sharing! I’m sorry though about your daughter ๐Ÿ™ That makes me so sad. Praying for you right now as you carry your newest baby!