Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Waterbirth Question

I have a question for you waterbirthers out there:


What position did you birth in and why did you choose it?

I spent a lot of Margaret's labor on my hands and knees because it relieved the back labor. When I got to the pushing stage, I was alternating between standing and squatting to help her move down. I did lots of standing in between contractions. I was in a squat/kneeling position when she was born. There was a pause between her head and shoulders, which is normal. Contractions stopped and I gave a couple of pushes, but she didn't budge. Then at some point (next contraction, perhaps?), her shoulders turned and she came out a little more (to her belly) and then another push and she was all out.

Anyway, I've been watching youtube waterbirths and reading waterbirth stories and it surprises me how many women sit reclined in the tub. For me, that felt too much like the lithotomy position- and the times I attempted to recline just emphasized the back labor and I did NOT like that so I didn't do it. So it surprises me that people choose that position. Is it helpful? Is there a difference if a midwife is there? I ask because I have a friend who did birth in that position because her midwives wanted to be able to "see better" and she thinks her tear is because they wouldn't "let" her change positions at that point. But then there are waterbirths with no tearing in that position. I suppose it all depends on how mom and baby fit together.

So waterbirthers: hands and knees? squatting? reclined? a mix? And Why?

19 comments:

  1. I had always pictured bing on my hands and knees..it just seemed like it would be the most comfortable. I labored in the water floating on my back, my side, and then as I got "pushy" I settled into the H&K position where I stayed for about 2 hours.
    At one point my MW asked me if i could turn over and I said,"no" and she said, "okay" and that's how Leo was born. I don't know if W's ask this for their view or for more ease at getting baby onto mom. They just told me before Leo came out that they would pass him through my legs and then Gary helped hand him up to me.
    The only downsides were that I did not see him come out(until I watched the video) and neither did Gary as he was up by my head. I like the idea of him catching but in that position it just did not happen.

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  2. For me, hands and knees, squatting and standing were most comfortable. When I was reclining I felt like so much flotsam, floating about without being grounded. My daughter crowned while I was on hands and knees, then I stood and she slipped from my body and my midwife caught her in midair.

    I'm a longtime reader... Just want to let you know how excited I am for you and your family! Giving birth was such an awesome, wonderful, powerful, lovely experience.

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  3. Sarah- Yeah, I didn't really get to see Margaret come out, and I kind of miss that. McKay did all the catching and I was the one asking, "Which way is the baby facing?" (like it matters by the time the baby is crowning- haha). He passed her under to me.

    Katharine- I bet it was nice to have her just slip out like that. Margaret was a chunker and came out in stages!

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  4. I was in a reclined position for my labor in the tub as well... I really didn't want to be though.

    I was at a birthing center and when I tried to turn around and get into a squatting or hands/knees position my midwives informed me that I had to be "all in or all out" of the water... I guess the tub wasn't deep enough? I'm still confused about that.

    I honestly think I wouldn't have torn if I'd done what I wanted to do. It certainly didn't make pushing more comfortable, but as I didn't push in any other position I don't know if it would have been better another way. I suspect it might have.

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  5. Baby #1: I was in and out of the tub for the last half of labor, as well as in and out during pushing. When I was laboring, I floated on my back in the tub. Once my body started pushing, I'd lie back between contractions, then get up in a flash into a kneeling positions during. Baby was born out of the water.

    Baby #2: got into the tub right when I was starting to feel pushy. Labored kneeling, leaning over the edge of the tub, and gave birth in that same position. It's great because you can see everything, you feel grounded, you can get a good grip on something, etc.

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  6. I did not have back labor, so I can't help you there. During contractions I squatted, and I laid back and floated in-between. When she crowned, I actually went on to my back, still floating in the water (My pool was about three feet deep). It felt the most comfortable. I staid like that until she came out.

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  7. For my first I floated on my back in between contractions to relax but mostly pushed on hands and knees. I ended up actually delivering my baby side-lying in the birth pool. My head was on the edge of the pool and top leg was resting on the rim of the other side of the pool. It was a strange position but it worked well for me!

    The second baby I squatted, I honestly don't see how women give birth with their bottoms on the ground or the bed... it looks really uncomfortable to me, but I guess it works for some people. I think you just have to follow your body's lead and do what it tells you to do.

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  8. I did not have a water birth, but you should look at the book. "back labor no more" By Janie McCoy King. My midwife, had all her clients read it to help if they have back labor.

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  9. Alondra was born while I was on hands and knees, it just seemed the most comfortable and instinctual at the time. But I didn't see her come out, just reached down and scooped her out of the water.

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  10. I spent most of my time on my knees leaning against the side of the tub. I also spent some time reclined in the tub - the weightlessness of the water make it not very lithotomy-like for me. I labored mostly in the tub with trips up the stairs to use the toilet about once an hour, lol. It kept me mobile and motivated to move. I actually delivered on a birthing stool outside the pool.

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  11. Kind of reclined for the last one. I squatted for the entire pushing phase with my first two and tore. So, with the third, I semi reclined against the back of the tub, held my husband and MW's hands for support and brought my knees up to my chest. It felt AWESOME, and I didn't tear!

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  12. During the whole labor I just floated on my back and then had one huge contraction while I was on my side and then I had to push. I had pictured squatting or being on my hands and knees, but when it actually came time to push, my midwife just directed me where to go. (I delivered in a hospital with a midwife.) She had me move to the narrow part of the tub and sit on my butt. I would hold my thighs, behind my knees, during pushing. My hubby was sitting on the edge of the tub, behind me with his legs in the water. In between contractions, I would just lay back and wrap my arms around him. Anyhow, it all happened so quickly and I didn't really question my midwife. With this next baby we are delivering at a birth center with a different midwife and I have already talked to her about delivery positions. I want to be able to choose which position I am in when I deliver.

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  13. I always envisioned that I would birth the baby in a kneeling position, draping my body over the tub. I've attended a lot of waterbirths, and it seemed to be a really popular and easy position for birth.

    I was in and out of the tub a lot during my stop-and-start labor, and it seemed like every time I was in the tub, my labor would slow. I transitioned quickly, and my husband practically had to carry me and put me in the tub, because it was obvious that he was coming quickly.

    I ended up in a semi-sitting position, which surprised me, but the last thing I wanted was to move. I do remember the midwife asking me to lift myself up a little bit off the bottome of the tub so that he had room to come out. So it wasn't what I would have chosen right off the bat, but it worked out well.

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  14. I ended up in the bath tub, since our pool ended up with multiple punctures :s

    Anyway, I spent most of the 2nd stage on hands and knees during contractions... but when I knew she was crowning, I turned and she was born into my hands in a squatting position, which was nice because I had the wall to support me a little I think...

    For us there was no pause between head and shoulders - she just popped out all in one go!!

    I never actually saw her crowning, it didn't occur to me to ask for a mirror... and I think I had my eyes closed during parts of it all... lol.

    Good times :D

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  15. Just thought of this, but I wonder if Margaret came out in stages because she was in the caul still. My water broke when her feet came out- maybe she didn't "slip right out" because she wasn't really "out." Hmmm...

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  16. With Alondra my water had to have broken during the last 2 contractions in the tub since I got back in just in time for her to be born. She flew out and I've wondered if it was influenced by my water breaking right when she came out or if it broke a contraction before and that helped it along? No idea, but I wonder how it works? It's a good thing we were in the tub and not on the hard linoleum :)

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  17. MY #2 wasn't born in the water, but she was born en caul and I pushed three times total, she just "slipped out", so that probably isn't the reason Margaret took a little more effort. I was on my hands and knees on land.

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  18. I labored and pushed while on my knees, leaning forward in the the tub. My baby's head came out first, and because of how I was leaning, everyone could see his face! The midwife commented on his big rosy lips. After a couple minutes, he wiggled around and then one last push, the rest of him came out and the midwife passed him to me underneath. I had back labor too (until I started pushing) and laying on my back was AWFUL. I had to be leaning forward and either squatting/kneeling or leaning over (like on a counter). The midwife didn't ask me to move or change position. I was in that position when she arrived and she did a quick exam before I really started pushing. I was only in the tub about 20ish minutes before my son was born, so maybe if I had been in there longer I would have changed position.

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  19. I labored on my knees leaning over the edge of the tub and pushed that way for most of it too, then switched to a reclining position towards the end because it was more comfortable. In the end, though, my baby ended up with shoulder distocia and I had to get out of the pool where my midwife put pressure on my pelvis to pop him the rest of the way out.

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