Water for Labor and Birthing
Im often asked if we assist in water birth and our answer is YES! Most of our clients use water therapy of some kind during labor and some actually birth in the water.
Women have been finding comfort in water since the beginning of time. Warm water envelops the body creating a weightless feeling and diminishes the sensation of the contractions. As the body relaxes, adrenaline levels are lowered and endorphins are released. These hormonal painkillers reduce stress and lessen pain, allowing both physical and mental relaxation. Most women find their ability to concentrate is improved, allowing them to focus inward on the birth process. This promotes the progression of labor, making it easier, shorter and even enjoyable. The relief from the warm water is so good that it is worth bearing in mind that it can be used as pain relief even if you dont want or plan to have a waterbirth.
Pain relief is an obvious motivation but there are other benefits to water. The buoyancy of the water gives a sense of weightlessness which makes it easier to change positions and eases the aches and pains of late pregnancy. Soaking in water lowers high blood pressure and increases blood circulation to the babies so they are born with higher oxygen levels. When mothers labor in the tub, there is less fetal distress and fewer complications such as hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia and meconium aspiration. The soaking is also good for mothers bottom as it softens the perineum, making it easier to birth without tearing. Babies love being born into the familiarity of the water. They tend to be more alert and calm. You can literally see them unfold their limbs, open their eyes, and take in their new world. Its a gentle transition from womb to mothers arms.
But is it safe? A common concern we hear is, how does baby breathe? There is a complex physiological mechanism which inhibits the baby from taking a breath when it is born in water. It is commonly believed that the stimulus to breathe is from the babys face coming in direct contact with air. Up until the time that the baby is lifted out of the water, the baby receives its oxygen from the mother via the placenta and the umbilical cord. We have equipment to monitor the babys heart rate while you are in the tub and can carefully observe any changes in the labor.
Benefits of Waterbirth
• relaxation for mother
|If you are interested in laboring in water or actually wanting to deliver your baby in water, Ill be happy to discuss those options with you. Please be sure to see our links for Waterbirth Resources. I also have a couple of excellent videos on waterbirth.
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