Unmedicated Water Birth

Our baby girl is here! Even though I didn’t plan for it we ended up having an unmedicated water birth. If you are considering a water birth, here’s a look at my experience.

What is water birth?

Water birth is exactly what it sounds like. You are in water for the delivery of your baby. You may also labor in water, too.

This might mean a tub, a swimming pool blown up in your living room, or even the ocean.

Can anyone have a water birth?

Typically if you are a low risk, single pregnancy water birth may be an option for you. However if you have placenta previa or any other pregnancy complications then you might not be able to have a water birth.

If you are having a home birth your midwife can talk with you about how to facilitate a water birth. Hospital facilities may also have the option to have a water birth.

If you are in a hospital setting it is good to clarify if you can both labor and deliver in the water. Some hospitals only allow you to labor in the tub but not to actually deliver there.

laboring in the tub rough and tumble farmhouse

Pros and Cons of Unmedicated Water Birth

Water birth can be a great way to labor and to deliver your baby. After laboring twice in a tub and delivering there once, here are my thoughts on unmedicated water birth.


The Water Feels Nice. That warm water surrounding you just feels good. After nine months of not being allowed to take a bath it is almost luxurious to get into a nice warm tub.

Warm Water Can Relax You. A big part of labor and delivery is the ability to relax your muscles and your body to allow your baby to descend into your pelvis and ultimately through and out. A warm bath can help your body to relax both in between and during contractions.

You Can Take Weight Off. After laboring with my first daughter I had such a sore backside. I think this is because I labored in bed, kind of propped up in a semi squat. In that position my tailbone took a lot of pressure from her descending and delivering.

With my second daughter, I labored on hands and knees, standing, and even when I was somewhat on my back in the tub, I utilized bars on the wall to keep my pelvis elevated. I had pretty much zero discomfort in the tailbone area this time.

The water helps to relieve some of the weight and pressure of your baby filled body.

Water Helps Lubricate. My second daughter, bless her chubby cheeks, was nine pounds, nine ounces. She also has a big head and broad shoulders. Getting her out was no easy feat. Amazingly though I had no tearing. My midwife says that if we hadn’t been in the water for her delivery that we would have had an even tougher time getting her out.

Can be easier on baby. Babies born in water tend to come out a lot more calmly than babies born straight into the cold air. Think about it. They are floating around in warm amniotic fluid and come out into warm water, then up and out onto your body temperature chest.

water birth story rough and tumble farmhouse


No Medication. While you are laboring/delivering in the tub you can’t be hooked up to any sort of meds. So if an epidural is in your plans then the water is a no-go. You can certainly labor there for a while, but once you have the epidural you can’t get back in the water.

Hard to Grip. One thing that is tough in a tub or pool is feeling like you have a solid grip or handle on things. It’s easier to brace yourself or position yourself when you are on dry land vs a slippery tub.

Tough on the Knees. If you spend time laboring on hands and knees a tub or even pool aren’t very kind to your knees. I knelt on a towel which gave me some grip but very little padding.

Getting Cold. My upper half felt chilly and I already had shudders from excess adrenaline. At some point I also decided to get out of the tub and labor on the hospital bed for a while. That was a chilly transition.

Some facilities also have rules about how hot the water can be, requiring it to stay lukewarm at best. For me, a lukewarm bath is not very helpful.

You are aware of the goop. Especially as you get down to the delivery part of your baby, you become very aware of the goop that is coming out of you because your midwife (or whoever is attending you) will be scooping it out of the water with little fish nets. This can be bloody show or even poop.

You are wet. Sounds like a no brainer but it’s something to consider. If you decide you want to get out and pee or poop or whatever you feel you need to do, you need to dry off and typically put some clothes on to keep warm.

Would I have a Water Birth Again?

I’m still fresh enough from delivering my daughter that I have zero plans to push another baby out of my vagina.

However, if as happens to so many of us, around two years from now I lose my mind and get pregnant again, water birth would definitely be on the table.

I tend to go into my labor/deliveries with a “whatever feels good at the time” mentality. Each labor can be so different, it’s good to have an open mind about trying different birthing positions and delivery aids.

If you’d like my full birth story and candid discussion of my daughter’s water birth be sure to check out the Youtube video below.

water birth pros and cons rough and tumble farmhouse

Watch and Learn

In this video I go through our whole birth story. It includes photos of me laboring and our daughter right after birth as well as video of our midwife talking through parts of a placenta, which is fascinating. It does not include video of me laboring or delivering. I absolutely tip my hat and give thanks to the women who share those videos. If my husband tried to film me while in labor I’d probably slap the phone out of his hand and throw him out.

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water birth story rough and tumble farmhouse

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