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Refused Water Birth - High BMI


Has anyone else been in this position? I had a high BMI at my booking in appointment, but the midwife kept me under her and chose not to send me to be consultant led. I was not weighed again until my 34 week appointment where she advised me I would have to go under a consultant because of my high BMI. I'm now 35+5 and have just had my 'consultation' at the hospital.

My main worry is that I won't be able to give birth in the midwife led unit (one door away from the main labour unit), but now they're saying that I can't even give birth in the water.

I would compromise and go in the labour suite (the thought of which fills me with fear) if I could have a water birth, but I cannot stand the thought of giving birth out of the water. 

My pregnancy has been very straightforward, I am very mobile and agile, my BP is around 120/60 (better than a lot of non pregnant 'normal BMI' women I know!). 

I'm at my wits end worrying about the birth now and to make matters worse I now have to see an anaesthetist at 38 weeks and have a growth scan - I might have given birth by then!!

My MW referred me to the consultant to make a decision on water birth / midwife led unit and now I've been referred back to my MW to make the same decision!! 

Can anyone offer any help or advice please?

Thanks x


  • I can't offer any advice, as such, as Im a FTM - but I have been looking in to water births as it is something that is quite appealing to me. From looking in to it in more detail, I have read that if you have a high BMI then you can't have a water birth - regardless of how 'low risk' your pregnancy has been considered. 

    So, midwife led unit or labour suite, if your BMI is considered too high then you wont get the option of having a water birth in either option I'm afraid. I obviously dont know your BMI, but from what I've read it seems to vary slightly by hospital, but around 30 to 40 is considered too high by most. 

  • It's not as clear cut as that according to the consultant as they are just guidelines and not law. No one will make a decision. 

    The main issue is that if there's an emergency the midwife's can't lift me out of the water, but my argument is that they wouldn't be able to lift me off the floor either if I was labouring on the floor in the labour suite and there was an emergency. So frustrating at 35+5 to still be unsure where I'll birth.

    Plus if I chose to birth at home I'd have a water birth and that'd be fine?!! Makes no sense at all. 

  • Been to see the supervisor of midwives and guess what? I'm allowed a midwife led birth in the MWL unit in a pool :)

    I put my case forward, she told me their side and she couldn't see a reason why I couldn't have one with a high BMI as I could easily get in and out of the pool unaided, even without the steps. 

    Just proves that guidelines are just that, they're not laws, you can challenge them and get what you want if you're willing to listen and compromise. Obviously things could not go to plan, but if they do I can be where I feel most comfortable. So pleased. :)

  • I have 3 kids, 9 1/2, 2 1/2 and 6 weeks and I wanted water births with each of them but it didnt happen.

    The 1st midwifery led there wasnt a pool available and before I was ready. 2nd was consultant led and was induced at 10 days and no pools in the high risk suite and 3rd again midwifery led but we were only in hospital 20 mins before he was born so no time to fill one! I only had gas and air with all 3!

    I was disappointed with the 1st, accepted the reality with 2nd and just laughed about the 3rd!

    What ever type of birth you do have it will be amazing. Try not to get hung up on having a waterbirth, just listen to the midwives, on the day you might be able to but they can advise you then.

    And good luck x

  • I wanted to water birth too and couldn't as I was induced. Everything has to be percent to get a water birth my friend had a textbook one and she couldn't have one as the baby passed poo which means she couldn't have one. Unfortunately it's maybe best not to get your hopes up 

  • I had planned a water birth on MBC.   But my LO was back to back so I had the urge to push 5 hours before I was allowed to.  By the time that came around, i was so exhausted and "in the zone" it wasn't productive to move me into the birthing pool.  Another 3.5 hours later and a lot of gas and air, I was then rushed up to delivery for an episiotomy and a vontuse and he finally arrived.  I accepted these things never go to plan.  As long as he came out healthy that was the important thing ☺️

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