Natural birth without labor tub?

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snuffy1680's picture
Joined: 07/21/07
Posts: 97
Natural birth without labor tub?

How many of you have done a natural birth without laboring in water? DH and I will start TTC in a couple of months, and I am trying to plan for my next birth since I wasn't thrilled with my last 2.

I want a natural birth, and I believe the easiest way I could do this is with a water birth. I would love to have a home birth, but DH is afraid of something going wrong. There are no birth centers in my area, and my hospital doesn't have any labor tubs. So, what would you do? Go forward with a homebirth if DH isn't ok with it? Have a hospital birth so DH doesn't worry, but not have the birth you want? How many of you had natural births in a hospital? How possible is it, really? With doctors pressuring you, and epidurals readily available, it just seems more difficult at the hospital...

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

I had 2 unmedicated births in hospital. Both mine were quick so I don't know if you take longer they are more pushy.

DD1 I was 2 cm when I got to the hospital. They don't do anything at that stage and wanted me to leave. I couldn't stand the idea of being in the car so we stayed and were left alone. I was not checked again until I asked for an epidural. They checked me, said I was complete and I decided I didn't need one. Total time 3.5h home/4h hospital.

DD2 I was already hospitalized because my water broke early. As a result they didn't want to check me until they were sure I was in labour. I was not dialated when I was admitted. When my labour started, i hurt so bad!ly but they could only pick up some random contractions in 40 min of monitoring me. They decided to check and i was 5 cm. They moved me to L&D and I started vomiting and I couldn't even stay up long enough to get my slippers. When I got to L&D, I asked for an epidural because I couldn't face more hours like that. I got through the first time with walking and moving and since I couldn't stand, I couldn't see how I'd do it this time. When I asked for an epidural my nurse tried to talk me out of it since I'd done it previously. She said once I got settled in the room and they got the monitors hooked up she would call for an epidural. During that time she kept saying to use the techniques I knew worked for me.The monitors took forever to place until I said I needed to push. When she checked, the baby was crowning. Total time. 1h my room/30 min L&D

I had good experiences with not being pushed into medication but it probably depends on your nurse and how long your labour is.

I'm a person who likes delivering at the hospital with minimal intervention. There is no way I could get DH to do a home birth. I was excited to use a MW this time as the practice I went to was am joint OB /MW practice. I never got to because I was early but I did like them for appointments.

I would try to find out your husband's objections (safety, not the normal thing to do, discomfort with the birth in your house...) and figure out what middle ground there is with the birth you want. Also try to figure out what you want out of a home birth that cannot be achieved elsewhere and discuss with him why it is so important to you.

kridda_88's picture
Joined: 01/28/08
Posts: 1798

My second was a natural birth in the hospital with out any water. It was about a 4 hour labor though and only 2 of those hours were actually in the hospital. My suggestion, if you want to try a home birth, is interview a few midwives and make sure DH is there and make him ask the questions that have him so worried about a home birth. I know a lot of moms who had DH's that didn't like the idea until they did this and then they were a lot more comfortable with it. If he still isn't comfortable with the idea there are lots of things you can do to help you relax and get through the contractions. I used Hypnobirthing but there's also hypnobabies, which is more in deepth version of hypnobirthing and teaches you a lot more techniques to help you relax. Also look into a doula if you can. If you can't afford one you might be able to find a student doula. Also stay home as long as you can because that gives you the freedom to do what ever you want including getting in your shower or bath.

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

I had a natural birth in the hospital. I labored at home as long as possible, and ended up being in the hospital only 4 hours before my DD was born (labored about 5 hours at home). I went to a fairly small practice of CNMs so my midwife knew me REALLY well, and KNEW that I had a birth plan (which I had given her around 36 weeks), and she was really respectful of me (and I got lucky that she was on call when I went in). I also had a doula, who supported both my mom and my husband in supporting me. My hospital did have tubs in the bathrooms in the rooms, BUT, even though they call them laboring tubs, they were only slightly deeper and wider than a normal tub, and I couldn't get comfortable in it, so, I ended up not spending more than a few minutes in the water. So yeah, basically had a natural hospital birth without water.
Also, I will say, that drugs never entered my mind even though we were at the hospital. they just weren't an option that I wanted to consider, so I didn't. And like I said, my birth plan explicitly said that no one should offer me any, and no one ever did. I was really well prepared (I had taken an 8 week private NCB class and done TONS of reading), and I just knew that I could do it without drugs. I never got to a point where I felt like I didn't have anything else to fall back on... I always had another strategy, and so did my doula- so there was always something else for me to do to deal with labor besides considering drugs.

Good luck!

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

First of all, I would talk DH into a home birth so I could have a water birth. The fact is, he's going to worry about you & baby no matter where you are, and ultimately you're the one who needs to be most comfortable with the place & people attending. So start educating him so he's on board with it. Biggrin There's another thread here on the top page about a reluctant DH & home birth.

Second, while water is a wonderful labor tool, it doesn't work if you aren't in it. Wink I had to get out of the tub a few times because I was getting overheated, even though the water was essentially body temperature. You really need to be prepared for NCB whether you have a tub or not. I used Hypnobabies and highly recommend it. Good luck to you!

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

I have had three hospital births (one induction) and one home birth. Being at home was wonderful and I highly recommend it. Talk to you DH about his concerns. Get some research and material for him to read and go from there.

But, you can have a great experience in hospital too! My hospital births were all lovely. No one pushed me and interfered with my wishes. They really just let me do my thing. My hospital does not have birth tubs, so all my laboring was done on "dry land" Smile

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

I had a natural hospital birth with baby #2. I also used Hypnobabies and loved it. I had a very supportive doctor and I stayed home for a long time (left my house with contrax 2 min apart and arrived 8 cm dilated). The hospital where I was did have tubs for labor (not for the actual birth, though), but I wasn't there long enough to use it. I used my own bathtub at home to relax in the water before going to the hospital.

I am, however, planning a home birth for #3 because there are some things I feel strongly about that I feel are difficult to get in the hospital (delayed cord clamping, mother-directed pushing, etc.) I would do some research into homebirth, see what midwives are available in your area and what kind of training and safety protocols they have, share what you find with your DH, and possibly even meet with a midwife or two, just to explore your options, but if you decide to go with a hospital birth, shop around for a provider, and be rest assured that unmedicated hospital birth is possible.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

I was at a birth center and did labor some in and some out of the water, but honestly I did it more because I'd always thought I should and that I would want to than because it really helped. I ended up getting out and delivering my DD on the bed because I couldn't quite get in the right position in the water and I was SO HOT I was really uncomfortable anyway.

So: Of course the BEST is to have options, but no water is definitely not a dealbreaker.

For me, the dealbreaker would have been not being able to move around in any position I wanted. If I'd been stuck in bed on my back there's no way I would have made it. Whenever I tried to lie down, the contractions would immediately get so bad I would start to panic--but they would also space way out. Bad x2! Getting in all kinds of crazy positions using the bed and a yoga ball was what worked best for me.

Beyond that, I think it really depends on the hospital. Some are a lot more NCB friendly than others. I think with enough support, though, you can do it anywhere.

Good luck!

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

"cactuswren" wrote:

For me, the dealbreaker would have been not being able to move around in any position I wanted. If I'd been stuck in bed on my back there's no way I would have made it. Whenever I tried to lie down, the contractions would immediately get so bad I would start to panic--but they would also space way out. Bad x2! Getting in all kinds of crazy positions using the bed and a yoga ball was what worked best for me.

Yes! This is the main reason I've never been drawn to a water birth, even though I was at home last time. I need to be upright and I need to be able to move around. Any sort of laying or reclining is torture for me.

I agree, options are key. Some people love water. Others don't like it. Either way, you need to be where ever you are most comfortable physically and psychologically.

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977

"cactuswren" wrote:

For me, the dealbreaker would have been not being able to move around in any position I wanted. If I'd been stuck in bed on my back there's no way I would have made it. Whenever I tried to lie down, the contractions would immediately get so bad I would start to panic--but they would also space way out. Bad x2! Getting in all kinds of crazy positions using the bed and a yoga ball was what worked best for me.

Beyond that, I think it really depends on the hospital. Some are a lot more NCB friendly than others. I think with enough support, though, you can do it anywhere.

Good luck!

Me too! Most important thing is to not be on my back in bed. I did labor in water, but pushed on dry land because it just felt right for me. I used Hypnobabies like PP mentioned to get me in the right mind frame. I had two unmedicated natural births in the hospital and arrived 8cm and 6cm dialated each time. I recommend laboring mostly at home if you end up using a hospital. My DH isn't on board for a home birth and because I've had two good experiences at our hospital, I haven't pushed the matter. If you are going to be really uncomfortable at the hospital you are likely to stall your own labor because of fear. I'd get DH on board if it's important enough to you.

Good luck!

DJMandyB's picture
Joined: 10/18/07
Posts: 68

We decided against home birth because DH was terrified of it and in the end this is his birth too so I figured I could compromise.

My first birth was a hospital birth. I tried to go naturally but we were I'll prepared for a long labor that involved pitocin and thus monitoring etc (my water broke and doctor pushed for drugs after 4 hours with no contractions). I hated it and felt like I failed to stop things once they went down that medical path.

I was determined to not make the same mistakes the second time. First, I found another doctor who was amazingly supportive. He gave me options and suggestions but really let me decide on the medical stuff. Unfortunately antibiotic/pitocin were necessary as my water broke and 12 hours later contractions still hadn't started and I was getting tired so I opted to start then. He knew I was really phobic about the pitocin so he even showed me how to turn off the drip in case I decided I needed to. He also told the nurses to stay out so I rarely got checked and moved around freely which made me much more comfortable. Second, I found an amazing doula who was a great support to both DH and me. She used her experience to figure out what would make me more comfortable (in my case it was lower back counterpressure) and then she was able to show DH how to do it so that he could be involved and take turns with him so he could get a break. My total active labor was about 4 hours. I did say I wanted an epi at one point, my doula just kept encouraging me and about 5 minutes later I was ready to push. Long story short, with a good doctor and a good doula you can do it.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

My first two babies were hospital births on dry land. With my first-- I honestly labored in their shower, with the shower head on my tummy and sitting on a rusty stool. True story.

Second, I stayed at home for as long as possible.....and labored at home in the tub but on dry land at the hospital.

With my third, I planned a natural hospital birth up until my 32nd week. The CNM's I was seeing promised me that they were "changing the hospital policy" on laboring in water (different hospital than the first 2 babies.) The "rule" was no pushing in the tubs. At 32 weeks the rule still stood-- and I was not on board. I switched to a homebirth with a CPM and had my son in water (just like I imagined.)

My 4th was also born at home in water...and it was lovely.

I would encourage you to meet with a HBMW to address your dh's concerns. He does get a vote in your birth, but I think he needs to be fully informed to make that have him meed with a MW or two and let him ask the tough questions. My guess is that they will win him over. Good luck!

Illiana's picture
Joined: 09/29/05
Posts: 338

I loved water for labor but did not like staying in there too long. With #1 I labored in the tub and probably would have birthed there but they made me get out once my big mouth said the word push. I hated the pushing phase with her because they had me on the bed semi-reclined. I tried my side but i couldn't really do any other positions.. So pushing took a long time and sucked and i tore.

With #2 I was at home so no tub, but I labored in the shower for a little while and it felt amazing on my back (the heat and the pressure) but I think a hot compress and some counter pressure probably would have been great as well. I labored mostly standing up and squatting with the contractions trying to open up. Then I went onto hands and knees after my water broke.

I'd recommend getting the book (there are digital copies around) Emergency Childbirth. Its short but great for explaining "true" emergencies and what to do until help arrives (assuming you had to call 911)

kmm123's picture
Joined: 12/13/08
Posts: 1839

I've had 2 natural births in hospitals. I labored at home until I was sure I was really far along. With my first I got to the hospital at 8cm but stalled there for hours, they did finally give me some pitocin. I got to the hospital at around 8am at 8cm and he was delivered at 1:48pm. Number 2 (born last week) I did the same thing stayed home as long as possible got to the hospital around 2:30 am at 7cm doc broke my water went straight to 10cm pushed for about 15 minutes at he was born at 3:14am. If you get to the hospital far enough along they don't really offer drugs b/c you'll be pushing momentarily Wink With #1 since I stalled I could have gotten an epi and did debate it when they started the pitocin but as it turned out the pitocin really didn't bother me that much.

I don't really like hospitals but home birthing isn't for me and I'm not one for tubs either so even if that were an option I wouldn't do it. I just stay home until the contractions are really close and the pain is hard to even breath through then we go in. Of course the hospital is only a few minutes away.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

I'm posting blind so sorry if I'm repeating anything that's already been said.

I had a natural water birth at a birth center. If this option had not been available to me, I would have had a home birth and rented a tub. We don't have a tub, just a shower, and I really wanted access to water (key word being "access" because I had no idea if I'd like it or not). I super duper fell in love with my birth center so the choice was easy. If DH had not been on board for a home birth and the only other option was a hospital without a tub, I would have chosen the hospital without a tub. My DH was integral in my birth and if he were freaking out about my safety the entire time it would have made me very uncomfortable and unable to relax. Granted, he was freaking out but not because he actually thought I was in any danger and he did a wonderful job of hiding it because he knew the MW and I had things under control.

I adored my water birth and I am most certainly planning on doing it again. Still, even knowing just how awesome it was, I'd choose the hospital if I were in your situation. If, however, your DH is unlikely to be your rock during your birth I think you should choose whatever you are most comfortable with. Perhaps if you educate him as to why you want to birth at home and work to convince him you'll be safe he'll come around. Have him read a good home birth book or two.

mandi04's picture
Joined: 08/10/03
Posts: 2272

With #3 I had a pain med free pitocin birth without any time in the tub or shower. It really wasn't all that bad until transition and transition goes so fast anyways.
This last birth I spent a lot of time in the shower. Pretty much I checked in and was in the shower alternating the shower head between my belly and back. I got out, they broke my water and I got in the tub and gave birth 10 minutes later. I'll say that I don't know that it really helped the pain all that much compared to birthing on dry land. I love water though and it helps calm me and I did find that to be true. Our hospital has a policy against actually giving birth in the water so my midwife (I love her, she's really been pushing for water births but she was alone in that most of my pregnancy...they just got a new midwife now who wants them too) stood me up and I gave birth standing over the water and then got to sit back down in the tub Smile

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

First, I would check with your local hospitals, because a lot of the time even if they don't have their own tubs you can rent them yourself and bring them with you to the hospital if they allow it. Second, I know you love your DH, but this is your body and you're the one who has to go through the birth. If your first two children were born without complication, I would say you're a wonderful candidate to have a home birth, and you shouldn't let him dissuade you. But if you do go the hospital route, you can absolutely have a MW deliver you in a hospital setting, and have the natural unmedicated birth that you're wanting. I would sit and talk to your DH about it and let him know exactly how you're feeling. Maybe try asking him to read a book on it (like Ina May's)? Good luck!

ourfirstblessing's picture
Joined: 01/07/07
Posts: 1094

i am super late to this but wanted to say that i've had one pitocin induced, bedrest so no shower/tub non-epidural birth. don't get me wrong it was not 'easy' but i made it. my second was intervention free and i never thought to get in the water, i labored at home pulled into the hosp. and had baby so there was not time to use the shower/tub there either. I am hoping this time to at least have the option as a thought but I have had two water free epidural free labors in a hosp. Do your research on your hosp. if you have a choice of where to go. My hosp. is VERY crunchy and VERY supportive of natural delivery. I requested not to be questioned about pain meds and NOT ONCE did someone ask me if I was interested in anything. Not all hosp. are drug pushing but i've def. seen/heard that it's much harder to have a natural delivery in a hosp. setting. All that being said, has your husband researched or is he willing to research the #'s behind homebirths? Would he sis down and talk with a hb midwife b/c honestly it's a very safe way to have baby. GL either way Smile

beccasweet's picture
Joined: 04/10/11
Posts: 679

I know I'm really late on adding on to this but I just had a natural hospital birth on the 16th and wanted to tell you it is totally possible. I was told by several people that my hospital wasn't supportive of natural birth but I am military so I had no choice on my MW or hospital and still had a great experience. I used Hypnobirthing and labored at home as long as possible, when I got to the hospital I was 8cm and 100% effaced and delivered a little over 2 hours later with only 40 min of pushing. I had in my birth plan that I didn't want to be asked my pain level or offered drugs and the nurses never did either one. This is my first child and I can honestly say that I expected labor to be more painful than it was for me. I give a lot of the credit to my hypnobirthing class and my practice with the techniques from the class. I would also recommend looking into laboring positions or questioning your provider on possible labor positions they will let you use. I was able to squat for the pushing and birthing phase and I honestly don't think I could have done anything else because that was what my body wanted to do. I really hope you get the birthing experience you want this time!