Benefits of Water Birth
from the American Pregnancy Association
Benefits for Mother:
- Water is soothing, comforting, relaxing.
- In the later stages of labor, the water seems to increase the woman’s energy.
- The buoyancy lessens her body weight, allows free movement and new positioning.
- Buoyancy promotes more efficient uterine contractions and better blood circulation, resulting in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, less pain for the mother, and more oxygen for the baby.
- Immersion in water often helps lower high blood pressure caused by anxiety.
- Water seems to alleviate stress-related hormones, allowing the mother’s body to produce endorphins, which are pain-inhibitors.
- Water causes the perineum to become more elastic and relaxed, which reduces the incidence and severity of tearing and the need for an episiotomy and stitches.
- As the laboring women relaxes physically she is able to relax mentally, concentrating her efforts inward on the birth process.
- The water provides a sense of privacy, which releases inhibitions, anxiety, and fears.
Benefits for Baby:
- Provides a similar environment as the amniotic sac.
- Eases the stress of the birth, providing reassurance and security.
from the Birth Book by Dr Sears
One study showed that women who were in the water for 30 minutes to 2 hours of labor dilated twice as fast (2-1/2 cm per hour vs 1-1/4 cm per hour), the babies descended twice as fast, and the moms experienced less pain.
The c-section rate was reduced by 2/3 in waterbirth moms. And water is especially beneficial for VBAC moms. An informal study of records from the past five years have found that use of medication (epidural or narcotic) with waterbirth mothers was cut almost in half.
Water Birth Is Safe
from Water Birth Basics by Barbara Harper, RN
"When we look back at the analysis of the statistics of babies born in water it proves that these inhibitory factors are more than theories. A study conducted in England between 1994 and 1996 and published in 1999 reports on the outcomes of 4,032 births in water. Perinatal mortality was 1.2 per 1,000, but no deaths were attributed to birth in the water. Two babies were admitted to special care for possible water aspiration.
It is estimated that there have been well over 150,000 waterbirths worldwide between 1985 and 1999. There are no valid reports of infant deaths due to water aspiration or inhalation. In the early days of waterbirth a baby was reported to have died from being born in the water. This particular newborn death was caused not by aspiration, but by asphyxiation because the baby was left under the water for more than fifteen minutes after the full body was born. At some point the placenta detached from the wall of the uterus and stopped the flow of oxygen to the baby. When the baby was taken out of the water, it did not begin breathing and could not be revived. On autopsy the baby was reported to have no water in the lungs and its death was attributed to asphyxia."
The paper goes on to explain, in summary, that the baby will not drown and that mothers and infants are not at increased risk of infection from water birth. Water birth is safe.
Rent a Birth Pool for $100CD Doula Services has the La Bassine birth pool available for rental. This birth pool was created by a water birthing mother for water birthing mothers. It is the perfect size tub for birthing with ample room to move around and change positions. Water level is generally up to the breast for comforting submersion. This pool is strong and durable while remaining comfortable. The inside handles are useful during labor as well, not all birth pools have these. Rental periods are four weeks long, starting in your 38th week of pregnancy. Rental rate includes pool, pool liner, floor liner, air pump, debris net & lead-free filling hose. Set up and pool draining & take away available for an additional service fee. E-mail for more information or to reserve a La Bassine Birth Pool for your birth.
Water Birth Resources- American Pregnancy Association
- Aquaborn Eco Pool Rental
- Birth Pool Comparison Chart
- Giving Birth Naturally: Water Birth
- Hip Chick's Guide to Water Birth
- Made In Water
- Your Water Birth
- Water Birth Info & Birth Stories
- Water Birth Solutions
- Water Birth International
This video from The Parenting Channel features information on water birth as well as a mother's own experiences with water during her labors and birth.