What is Waterbirth?
Waterbirth, also known as gentle birth, is a birthing method that encourages labor and delivery in a tub of warm water. You can use a deep bath or birthing pool and have your waterbirth at home. Some women labor in the birthing pool and give birth outside of the water, while others choose to labor and birth while sitting in waist high water.
The theory behind waterbirth is simple: the birthing mother births her baby into an environment that is similar to the warm fluid protected space of the womb. Birthing the baby in the water is not the goal of laboring in the water. However, it is less traumatic for infants. The goal of using water during the birth process is to increase the comfort, peace, and relaxation of the mother so that she can easily “let her baby” out if she choses to stay in the water at the time of birth.
Benfits of Natural Waterbirth
Natural waterbirth has many benefits. A more relaxing birth experience is the primary reason most women opt for giving birth in water. Other advantages to water birthing include:
It promotes a more relaxing birth experience. Immersing yourself in a warm bath is an efficient way to reduce anxiety, lower your blood pressure and increase your comfort.
It can shorten labor. Warm water helps contractions progress more smoothly, which in turn can shorten your labor. Its buoyancy also allows freedom of movement for mothers as they shift from one position to another during labor.
It lessens the need for pain medication. Water labor can help improve blood flow to the uterine muscles, making labor more comfortable.
It boosts the connection between mother and baby. With increased comfort levels, some people report feeling more present and bonded with their babies through the birthing process.
(info from Waterbirth International)
photo credit Jennifer Mason Photography