One of the most common things I hear is a woman wanting information about water births. I remember 15 years ago, a water birth was a weird, hippy way to give birth. Keep in mind that I gave birth to two of my children in water and I had family and friends who looked at me like I was crazy pants when I told them of my water birth plans. Now it is universally recognized as a calming, medication free pain reducing method of managing labor pains and easing delivery. Nowadays, more women are wanting to labor at home as long as possible and laboring in the shower or bathtub is an excellent way to keep the mother relaxed and reduce the need for medical interventions such as Pitocin or an epidural once she arrives at the hospital or birth center. Laboring in water can help shorten the length of labor and also help reduce the need for an episiotomy and the instances of tearing. If you decide to birth at home in water, you have the benefits of already being in your comfort zone and safe space. You can easily exit the tub and snuggle into bed with your newborn for some amazing skin to skin contact. Birthing at home can be as simple as using your own normal bathtub but renting a birthing tub might be more effective for your needs. A birthing tub is designed to be wide and shallow so that your midwife or birth team can easily support you at any point during labor and delivery. Internet searches will give you lots of options for purchasing or renting a birthing tub. Your midwife might even be able to provide you with one for a homebirth. Sounds great right? I think so too.
So in the lowcountry, where does one go to have a water birth? I’ll tell you, the pickings are slim. If you are close to Savannah, GA or a (long) drive doesn’t bother you, the Midwife Group located off of Chatham Pkwy is a fantastic option. They have been serving the area for over 30 years and the midwives are incredibly experienced, kind, and offer birthing suites that can accommodate laboring and/or delivering in water. Give them a call at 912-629-6262 to make sure that they can accept you as a patient and that you are a good candidate for a water birth.
Maybe giving birth at home is more your style. Nicole Lavallee, LM, CPM with Coastal Birth Services offers homebirths and includes the use of a birth tub for free for her homebirth clients. She is located in John’s Island, SC and her phone number is 843-559-5559. She takes a limited number of patients so make sure to call and check her availability for your due date early in your pregnancy if you are considering a homebirth.
Coastal Carolina will allow you to shower during labor if your care provider allows it. You will have to be mindful of whether you have a hep lock or are attached to an IV pole which may sway your provider to deny you laboring in the shower. If you are looking for a provider who has delivery privileges at Coastal Carolina, call 833-383-3744.
I bet you’re wondering why hire a doula if you’re planning on laboring in water and the benefits of water are so vast. Doulas can help with physical support during labor – helping you to/from the shower or bathtub, giving you soothing massages or counter pressure during contractions, helping to apply warm or cold washcloths because sometimes you just want the hot water beating on your back but a cold cloth on your forehead. Doulas can also help with emotional support during labor. Giving praise, reassurance, understanding, compassion, and encouragement during labor is an important component of labor support and adds an additional layer of comfort for the family.
Laboring and/or giving birth in water is a strong option for many women who want to experience labor without medical pain management. Please visit
for more evidence-based research on water births or reach out to me for any questions you may have.