A Sheffield mum has backed a £300,000 fundraising campaign to bring more specialist birthing pools to the city.
Sheffield Hospitals Charity want to renovate their single birthing pool and add two more to the Jessop maternity wing.
And proud mum Anyarat Piangcharoen, aged 36, from the city centre, is one of thousands of mums to have benefited from the pool when she gave birth to son Macca in 2015.
But now she wants even more women to experience the benefits, having seen first-hand the reported advantages of a water birth.
Anyarat said: “The first stage of my labour was very long. After four days, a midwife suggested I immerse myself in the bath at home to try to progress. After just forty minutes my waters broke, which I’m certain was due to the water helping to stimulate my labour more quickly.
“I accessed the birth pool at the Jessop Wing during the second stage of my labour, when I was ready to push and give birth to my son.
“I mentioned my preference for using a pool on my birth plan and was pleased that it was available when I needed it.
"My husband is a physiotherapist and qualified in hydrotherapy in Switzerland, so I always did aquatic exercises during my pregnancy under his supervision. I felt very relaxed in water and knew that using the pool could help to reduce stress and anxiety during my labour and may help me to birth more easily.
“It really did. I felt confident and more relaxed and my labour was straightforward with less pain than anticipated. I could have skin-to-skin contact with my son straight after reaching him from the water. I was able to breastfeed him straight away and was discharged the day after.”
Midwifery experts say the use of water is one of the simplest forms of pain relief available to women which also comes with zero side effects. It's also said to reduce the length of labour and the need for further pain-relieving drugs.
Benefits include the reduction in drug use during labour, meaning the baby is alert, calm and ready to initiate feeding. In turn, all these benefits lead to a shorter hospital stay so mother and baby can go home earlier.
Anyarat’s husband is a hydrotherapy specialist at Sheffield United. He knows first hand the positive impacts of water.
"I knew that using water both in pregnancy and birth would be beneficial.
“The pre-labour programme I introduced for my wife worked really well. It meant she gave birth to Macca smoothly and safely. It made me so proud and happy.
“We are supporting this appeal because water is a really helpful tool for a natural birth in several ways, including pain management and supporting a smooth delivery.”