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Can I use the birthing pool if I’ve had a previous Caesarean?

The use of the birthing pool can offer great benefits to the mother, in terms of pain relief in labour and for delivery of the baby. However, unfortunately, it is recommended that if you have had a previous caesarean section, your baby’s heartbeat and your contractions will need to be continuously monitored throughout the labour and delivery of your baby1. This you cannot do in a pool. The reason for continuous monitoring is that there is a chance, although quite a small chance, that your uterus may rupture. This may well be a painless occurrence and may only be noted when the baby’s heartbeat alters2.

However, if you decide you do want to labour and deliver in water after a caesarean section, this is your choice, but you must ensure that you are fully aware of the risks3.

1Enkin M Keirse MJNC Neilson J Crowther C Duley L Hodnett E Hofmeyr J (2000) A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth - 3rd Edn. Oxford University Press, New York
2Fraser DM, Cooper MA, eds (2003) Myles' Textbook for Midwives 14th ed. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh.
3Burns E, Kitzinger S (2005) Midwifery Guidelines for the Use of Water in Labour (2nd Edn). The Waterbirth Advisory Group, Oxford Brookes University

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