Q&A: Can I be induced and still have a water birth?

Since finding out she’s pregnant, Mum’s Grapevine Due Date Group member Gabby has had her heart set on a water birth. But things don’t always go to plan when it comes to labour, so she’s wondering if it’ll still be a possibility if she’s induced.

Does anybody know if you can have a water birth after being induced? I have found mixed answers online and it seems to be case by case? My midwife knows I have my heart set on water birth in the birthing suite and that’s been the plan from the start if don’t have any reasons why I can’t. I didn’t mention it last week when talking about induction and didn’t think to ask.

Gabby, Mum's Grapevine reader

Mum’s Grapevine expert contributor, specialist Sydney obstetrician Dr Gary Sykes tackles this tricky question.

The answer is maybe. It depends on why the pregnant woman is being induced:

  • If it is ‘high risk pregnancy’ then it may be considered unwise.
  • If her baby been continuous foetal heart rate monitoring in labour and there is no telemetry monitoring option in the hospital she attends, then it would be considered unwise.
  • If she has had an epidural, then she cannot have a water birth. It would be considered too
    dangerous. In any case, she has the epidural option for pain relief and relaxation and so being in the water is not necessary
  • Prior to induction, the cervix may need ripening with a prostaglandin gel inserted high into the vagina. This would be a contraindication to being in water. In any case, water for pain relief and relaxation is not needed at this stage as there are no contractions when the prostaglandin gel is inserted.

So, if you’re being induced, the best advice is to check with your own care providers about whether it will be an option for you.

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