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    Question Dilation before entering water and length of stay in water question.

    I have opted for a water birth at my local public hospital. The midwifes are all for it and will do their best to make sure I have a room with a bath.

    My question is. How many cm should I be dilated before I get in the water? I know that getting in too early can really slow things down. Also for those ladies who had a water birth, how long were you in the water. Can you sit in there for like 10, 20 hrs? … or just for the last last hour of the birth.


    I should have asked these things at my last antenatal class but I don’t just didn’t think to.

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    I wasn't allowed in the bath until I was 5cm, so prior to that I spent time in the shower (I was 3cm when I arrived at hospital)

    I hadn't planned on having a water birth but I did not want to get out once I was in ! I was in a birth centre and they were open to it.

    I ended up staying in the bath for about 4 hours, I only got out due to complications (related to stupid midwife not water!) and needing to be transferred. However, they would have let me stay in there as long as I wanted

    Good luck, the water is truly amazing!!




    Mummy & Daddy - expanding our family! Our little man born April 2011 and now expecting another munchkin in August 2012! Loving it!!!!!

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    Thank you for the reply can i ask what midwife did to cause the complication?

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    Quote Originally Posted by babybloom View Post
    Thank you for the reply can i ask what midwife did to cause the complication?
    She told me to push long before i was ready (apparently all my external signs showed i was ready) I fought her on it saying I don't feel the urge etc. Being my first baby I ended up listening to her. I pushed for 2 hours and as nothing was happening I got out of the water. At an internal I was only 6cm and had done damage to my cervix from pushing. I had to be transferred out of birth centre to normal delivery ward as I required an epidural to help my cervix relax and finish dilating. She also had knocked the gas up to 100% so I was unable to support myself in the bath properly and kept slipping down.

    End story I didn't need epidural, I got a new (fantastic!) midwife and my baby was born 8 hours after the first pushing episode. (And another 2 hours of pushing!)

    What I learned from this experience is really to trust your body. I cannot stress this enough to any woman.

    Pm me if you'd like to chat more about it

    I'm sure you will be fine.


    Mummy & Daddy - expanding our family! Our little man born April 2011 and now expecting another munchkin in August 2012! Loving it!!!!!

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    headoverfeet is offline The truth will set you free, but first it will **** you off. -Gloria Steinem
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    I've never had numerous exams to check how far along I was so I can't really comment on that but with DS1 I spent about 2 hours in the bath before being told to get out. With DS2 I got in at midday and he was born at 6:04pm, with DD I got in at 7:30pm and she was born at 10:28pm.

    Just get in whenever, you can always get out if it slows things down and get back in again later if you want

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    I've had two home waterbirths, but my midwives didn't examine me at all, so I just did what I felt was right.

    I had no idea how far dialated I was with either of them, but as it turns out, I managed until the end both times as I was only in the water for about 5 minutes before I delivered my daughter, and only about 15 minutes with my son.

    Although during my daughter's homebirth, I did get in a bath about 2 and a half hours after regular contractions started, and everything stopped until I got out, so timing is everything

    Unfortunately though, no way to tell when that time is

    Good luck and all the best with your waterbirth

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    I didn't have a vaginal exination before I hopped in the bath, I remember my midwife saying not to get in too early but she must've just known when it was ok. I got in at about 7:30 and had DS at about 10:30. I think off you're in there for hours and hours maybe it'd be time to try something different as maybe it is hindering labour. I dunno, I just can't imagine labouring for 10-20 hours in the same position.

    The midwives will know what to do anyway

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    BabushkaMumma is offline Mothering with my whole heart as thats what my girls have given me.
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    As this was my third birth, the MW said I could get in whenever I was ready for it. If it was my first they said they would've preferred for me to wait until I was fully dilated - so as not to slow down labour. Maybe that's just the policy for that BC.

    Anyways, I hopped in the water less than 1 hour before the birth and it was lovely!! I had laboured 2 hours on land well,no VE's either. The MW was able to tell from my behaviour my progress so got the bath ready when she heard my groans change.

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    With all three of mine I got in when I was at a point when nothing else was feeling good (shower, ball, walking etc). I didn't want to slow things down but remember- if being in the water seems to be slowing you down or not feeling right- just get out and try something else . I was in and out a couple of times with my last. I'm not really sure how dilated I was but I'd say at least halfway. All were born in to the water. It's amazing.
    We've built our own pool this time and should be filling it up in the next couple of weeks
    All the best!

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    Quote Originally Posted by babybloom View Post
    I have opted for a water birth at my local public hospital. The midwifes are all for it and will do their best to make sure I have a room with a bath.

    My question is. How many cm should I be dilated before I get in the water? I know that getting in too early can really slow things down. Also for those ladies who had a water birth, how long were you in the water. Can you sit in there for like 10, 20 hrs? … or just for the last last hour of the birth.


    I should have asked these things at my last antenatal class but I don’t just didn’t think to.
    Most often we have no idea what a woman's dilation is. It doesn't matter. All the external signs are telling us she is making good progress. Her contractions are stronger, closer together. She's starting to sound, she's closing her eyes and concentrating more deeply. She's using her body and her breath to cope, using rhythmical movements and circles. There is more show. Her waters may break. She feels more pressure. If we feel for the baby's heartbeat with a doppler, the baby's heart can be found further down her abdomen. She's feeling rectal pressure, like she wants to do a poo. Now she's really roaring. Her voice changes - we hear that distinctive 'catch' in her voice. She's bending her knees with the strong contractions. She's working hard now, but she's coping better - she has found her groove, and her birth hormones are at peak levels, helping her. Her face and chest are rosy, from the dilation of the capilliaries caused by the oxytocin. She looks 'high' - she looks beautiful, and powerful. She can feel the baby's head when she feels just inside her vagina. It feels like a soft furry walnut.

    I find when the woman feels the birth pool calling to her and she really wants to get in, that is usually the right time for her to do so. This could be for all different reasons. Maybe she's in early labour, the contractions are starting to bite, and she's thinking (unrealistically) "the pool will take away the pain". In she gets. Total disillusionment - the pool is nice but it don't numb the pain! Reality check: I will have to do this work. No one can do it for me. The contractions die down. Hmm this is comfortable. But will comfort get my baby born? I know I should get out and walk, but it's so comfy in here .... she battles within herself for a while. Her birth team don't mind if she rests, they know she'll get out and get on with it when she's ready. Out she gets, and starts walking again, to get those contractions ramped up again.

    Or she might have been walking for a while and be feeling very tired, how wonderful it would be to be weightless for a while! She naps between cx for a while. The slumbering helps her sink into the hormone-infused "labour-land" further. The contractions are not so long or intense ... but no matter, she is doing some wonderful softening up, she is resting and gathering her strength, the time for strong intense work is coming up, it's OK for her to take a breather now.

    Or after hours of going in and out of the shower and in and out of the pool and up and down the stairs, and round and round the halls, she might be at that stage where even SHE is convinced that it ain't no poo - it's a baby's head! The pool calls to her - in the weightlessness, she knows she can get into a position that will feel right for pushing, for not pushing, for just letting her body do it - she knows the time is near and she wants IN that water.

    So I don't mind when a woman wants the water. If it's too soon, the person to know that the best will be her - and when she's ready, she'll just hop right out again. I wouldn't recommend being in the pool for 10 hours or more - I think you would get pretty bored with it, and I think it's better to be walking and active (for the average labour - unless you're one of those super-quick dilaters who would dilate even if they were hanging from a chandelier) - but most of us can do with a fair bit of walking etc during labour - better than being confined to a bed or to one room for encouraging dilation and progress. Every step alters the diameter of your pelvis and makes room for the baby, as you walk and baby wiggles, progress happens!

    I just read a beautiful first time birth story on another forum, she had a waterbirth in a birth centre and it was a wonderful experience for her. All the best! Oh have you found the Waterbirth International site? There's some great info there.
    Last edited by fai firinne; 21-02-2012 at 16:53.

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