Water birth is an alternative to the traditional methods of childbirth. With a water birth, the mother is submerged into a tub or pool filled with warm water. The baby is delivered under the water and then brought to the surface where he or she is able to take their first breath. Babies who have been carried to the full term of nine months inside their mother in the safety of the amniotic sac are the most acceptable candidates for this birthing method.
When a new mother chooses to deliver baby through this method, an experienced health care provider, such a midwife, is present for the water birth. The mother is immersed in clean, warm water, where she moves her body and changes her position in order to ease discomfort and expedite the childbirth process.
The History of Water Birth
Back in the sixties, a Russian gentleman by the name of Igor Charkovsky make the water birth technique known in Moscow. A decade later, Michael Odent, M.D. brought the water birth method of childbirth to a hospital in France.
By the eighties, the water birth technique had spread to the United States as a result of the efforts of one Michael Rosenthal, M.D., who was responsible for establishing the first birth center in the country.
Less Stressful Labor
Water has a relaxing effect because it is warm and supporting, which is extremely beneficial for a woman who is in labor and preparing to give birth. In addition, when you are in a relaxed state, your breathing is calm, which will help to ease the pain of your contractions.
When your body becomes tense during labor, your contractions could lose rhythm, which means the labor could fail to progress as it should. Bathing in the water will help with contractions easing the stress that is felt by both you and your baby.
When you immerse yourself in the warm water, you can prepare for the birth of your child without disturbance. Dim lights and a quiet room will help you to feel more in control of your body so that you are better prepared for the process of giving birth.
The buoyancy of the water makes your body feel light and makes it easier for you to move around and get comfortable. A position that will help your baby move through the pelvis easily is best. A good rule of thumb is to ensure your knees are lower than your hips.
Just as a warm bath would relieve that pain of a tummy ache, menstrual cramps or a sore back, it will also help you cope with the pain of your contractions, as you are getting ready to bring your new baby into the world.
Once you have experience labor in a water birth pool, you will want to use the same method each time you give birth.
Giving Birth in Water
It is easier to move into an upright position that is comfortable when you are immersed in a water birth pool. Once you are upright, you have the advantage of using gravity to do the work for you. In fact, many mothers who have experienced childbirth through various methods claim that pushing a baby out in water is far easier than on land.
Supporters of the water birth method believe that transitioning to the world outside of the womb is less stressful on babies that are delivered in water. The warm waters of the water birth tub are similar to the waters the baby has gotten used to inside the uterus. Babies delivered using this method are generally calmer and cry less than babies that are born through other more traditional childbirth methods.