Types of Birth

Active Birth

Keeping active during labour is beneficial to the birthing process. Moving positions can help to keep contractions strong or boost them if they seem to be weakening. Walking around during early labour is encouraged by midwives; visit any maternity unit and you are guaranteed to see at least one woman waddling up and down a corridor to try and progress labour!

Leaning over/sitting/rocking on a birthing ball (like a space hopper without handles), can help move the baby into a good position for birth,open up the pelvis and relieve pain.

Being upright during labour and birth can move the baby down and make contractions more effective.

Move around to find a position that is comfortable and makes you feel in control.

Active birth is about letting your body work with gravity, to empower you and birth your baby as easily as possible.

Assisted Delivery

When you need some form of medical assistance during labour and birth, it is known as an assisted delivery.

This can include:

  • Caesarean Section
  • Episiotomy
  • Forceps
  • Induction
  • Ventouse

Read more about these on our Special Intervention page

Natural Birth

A natural birth is a birth without intervention, such as those listed above.

Water Birth

During a water birth, the birthing pool is filled with water heated to around 36oc. Being in water will support your body, making it more comfortable to maintain an upright position. The warmth of the water relaxes the muscles, giving natural pain relief. Water provides a safe and calm place to labour and give birth in (though some women choose to leave the pool to give birth). Another advantage is that it reduces your risk of tearing during birth.

It is also thought to be less stressful on the baby being born into water, as it a similar environment to when she was in her mum's body. The baby doesn't begin breathing until she emerges into the air but will continue to receive oxygen via the umbilical cord. You will be asked to leave the pool to deliver the placenta. This is because the midwife cannot tell how much blood is lost if you are in the water.

You can have a water birth at home or in hospital, though in hospital it will depend if they have a pool free. Gas and air is available to you during a water birth.

A water birth is unsuitable if you have:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Pre-Eclampsia
  • A Medical Condition
  • Bleeding in Pregnancy
  • A Premature Baby
  • A Small Baby
  • An Induction
  • A Multiple Baby Pregnancy
  • Had a previous Caesarean Section
  • A Breech Baby

For more information on water births or pools for sale or hire vist the Active Birth Pools >> and Birth Pool Hire >> websites.