Water is often called the 'midwife's epidural'. Slipping into a tub of warm water is incredibly relaxing to a laboring woman. When a woman is able to more fully relax, she is able to deal with the intense forces of labor much more effectively. Throughout the world, midwives have used water in various ways to facilitate labor and birth. Showers, tubs and wet towels are used to ease labor, from lower back pain during contractions to perineal support during crowning. The naturally soothing properties of water have been known for centuries. However, it has only been since the 1960's that waterbirth has been used.
"In the early 1960s, Igor Charkovsky pioneered the use of water for labor and delivery in the former Soviet Union. Later in the 1980s, MichelO'Dent spearheaded the movement in France, and in Europe. Since then waterbirth has migrated to many other countries, including the U.S., and it has been estimated that nearly 25,000 women have given birth in water in the U.S. since 1981. This growth happened even though the medical establishment has not especially accepted the waterbirthing method; even though there are a very limited number of qualified practitioners who attend waterbirths; and even though it is very difficult to acquire a tub. Even with these obstacles, women continue to choose to birth their babies in water. In light of this the question becomes why? What is it about waterbirth that has so many women making this choice for their births?" Excerpt from Choosing Waterbirth used with permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company.
Use of a pool is included in the homebirth midwifery fee. Pool use includes the professional kit to inflate, fill and empty it with ease. One of the nicest features of a professional pool is its inflated floor which makes kneeling or sitting for long periods of time very comfortable. When you use my pool, I provide the set up, pool liner, and clean up.
Another option is to buy your own pool. The pools from YourWaterBirth.com or WaterbirthSolutions.com range in price from $25 to $132 without accessories and are available year round. If you choose to purchase a pool at a retail store, look for one that is at least 22" deep so you can reap the full benefits of buoyancy and warmth.