Water births: ‘It was the most enjoyable labour I had’

The Coombe hospital is celebrating more than 100 water births since 2014

To celebrate more than 100 water births that have taken place at The Coombe since 2014, the hospital welcomed back all of the parents and their water babies for a reunion.

The Coombe is only one of the three Dublin maternity hospitals with a specially-designed birthing pool, and the only hospital in the Republic of Ireland offering women the option of a water birth.

The birthing pool was installed 2013 as part of a newly refurbished labour ward at the hospital.

Since the commencement of the service in May 2014, more than 300 women have used the pool for labour and, of these, 107 women have gone on to have a water birth.


The birthing pool at the Coombe is available for healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies.

Paula Barry, research midwife at the Coombe, said she hoped highlighting the positive experiences of mothers who chose water births will encourage more women to consider it as an option.

Ms Barry said the hospital has become the standard bearer in Ireland for water birth.

“While all births are special and wonderful, water birth can be a unique experience for healthy women, with uncomplicated pregnancies. The midwifery team at the Coombe have embraced this care option and provide safe, competent care to this group of women, as they do to all labouring women,” she said.

Renagh Howley from Dublin was there with her son Josh, who turns two-years-old next month.

“My daughter who was born in 2013 I used a birthing pool for pain relief but you weren’t allowed to give birth in them at the time,” she said.

“When I was expecting baby number three I wasn’t 100 per cent sure about having a water birth but I’m so glad that I did,” she said.

Ms Howley said the water in the birthing pool helped with the contractions and made for a much easier birth.

“It was my third time giving birth and it was the most enjoyable labour I had; if you could describe labour as enjoyable. Gravity took over and it made the whole labour process much less stressful,” she said.

“I felt much more in control by having a water birth. The staff were amazing

Josh came into the world so calmly and I could rest him on my chest in the water when he was born. I would recommend it to any expectant mother.”

Sarah Gill was also there with her son Jake said she would recommend water births to expectant mothers.

“It’s always hard to know what kind of birth you are going to have. You can plan everything down to the last detail and still have complications. Fortunately, I was able to have a water birth as I wasn’t able to have one for my first child,” she said.

“As soon as I got into the birthing pool, I felt a huge relief. The delivery was such a smooth process and I was able to bond with my son in the pool as soon as he was born.”

“It’s definitely worth trying or having a water birth if you’re hospital offers it. The recovery time is after having one is much quicker as you can’t have an epidural. Jake was born on Friday evening and we were home Saturday morning,”she said.