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A Step by Step Guide to Waterbirths

Water Birth 101: What to Expect
Over the last ten years, waterbirths have dramatically increased in popularity.  

It is always up to Mama how she brings her baby into the world. Today there are more options than ever to help Mama give birth the way she is most comfortable.  

In an earlier post, we very briefly outlined why some mamas choose a waterbirth.  


In this post, we will go into more detail about some of the benefits of waterbirths, what you need to prepare, and what will happen during the delivery.  

Benefits of a Waterbirth 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recognizes several benefits of waterbirths. The water can help ease the strain on Mama’s muscles and reduce the overall levels of pain from childbirth. Stork Helpers recommends getting in the water when the cervix is dilated at six inches.  

Many mamas choose to have their full delivery while submerged in water. So long as you deliver with qualified professionals present (doula, midwife, OBGYN) a water birth is completely safe.  

Most importantly, women who give birth in the water report a higher rate of satisfaction compared to those who give birth by more traditional methods. 

Waterbirths are offered to women between 37 weeks and 41 weeks, 6 days into their gestation. Women also must have a low-risk pregnancy, clear amniotic fluids, and their baby must be in a head-down position.  

Many women are choosing water births as an alternative to a traditional hospital setting. Water can go a long way towards easing the intense pain that comes with childbirth.  

How to Prepare for Your Waterbirth 

So, you have decided to pursue a waterbirth and you are wondering how to continue.  

The first thing you need to do is decide if you want a home waterbirth or a hospital waterbirth. As you make this decision, you should tour local hospitals and birthing centers to view their waterbirth facilities.  


Once you have made your decision, you are ready for the next steps.  

If you decide to go for a hospital birth, the facility will have all the resources you need. 

However, if you decide to deliver in the comfort of your home, there are some items you need to prepare.  

Rent or buy the following: 

  • Obtain an inflatable tub  

  • Purchase a sterile birth pool liner (especially if you are renting)

  • Buy a long garden hose that stretches from your sink to your birthing area 

  • Also, get a sink-to-hose adapter 

  • Buy clean up supplies like disinfectant wipes or rubbing alcohol 

  • Buy a tarp to protect your floors (you can also you a shower curtain or vinyl table cloth) 

  • Get several fresh towels 

  • Finally, buy a floating thermometer to regulate temperature 

Make sure you have all the proper gear before labor starts so you are not caught off guard. 

Ask your doula for advice if you have any questions. 

During the Waterbirth 

Before labor begins, you should fill up your pool or tub with warm water between 97- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature as it is roughly the temperature of the human body. If your water is too cold or hot it will be uncomfortable. Make sure the water stays in this range for the duration of the birth.  


During delivery, expect mucus, blood, and even feces to come out into the water. This is completely natural. The doula or assistant will skim any floating materials out of the water and dispose of them properly.  


Once you have given birth, your OB or midwife will care for the baby first. Once they are sure the baby is healthy and safe, mama will be taken care of.  

Insurance will likely cover the cost of your hospital waterbirth. Without insurance, a hospital birth can cost between $5,000 and $10,000. In comparison, a home waterbirth can cost between $1,500 and $5,000 but is not covered by insurance.  

It’s Your Delivery, Make it Work for You 

The most important thing during childbirth is that mama is comfortable and satisfied.  

Always do what is best for you and your baby. Consult your doula or doctor regarding any delivery options. 

Waterbirths are the right choice for many mamas, but they might not be the right choice for you.  

Have trouble making up your mind? Reach out to Tamara at Stork Helpers. She will go over all your options and help you find a path that is perfect for you.  

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