A few decades ago, it was nearly unheard of for a woman to give birth in water. Now, more and more women are choosing to give birth in the water, either while at home or in a birthing center. But what is it about water birth that is so appealing to women? Why is it becoming so common?
1. Water provides relaxation and clarity.
There's something about water that just makes it easier to relax and keep your mind at ease. People have been visiting the ocean when in search of clarity for years. You've probably taken a shower when you need to ease your mind and relax. Birth goes a lot more smoothly when you are relaxed, and giving birth in water generates that same clarity and relaxation that visiting the ocean or taking a shower does.
2. Water reduces the need for an episiotomy.
An episiotomy is sometimes necessary to prevent a woman's birth canal from tearing too extensively. With a water birth, the relaxation provided by the water tends to soften the tissues around the vaginal canal and allow them to stretch more fully. Fewer women need episiotomies, which means less pain and a shorter healing time after giving birth.
3. With a water birth, the baby experiences a gentler transition.
Birth represents a big change for the baby's environment. Giving birth into water eases this transition. The baby goes from the warm liquid inside the womb to the liquid inside the pool before being exposed to the cool air. Many women find that this makes for a calmer, more adjusted baby. If you wish to parent your child as naturally and as calmly as possible, a water birth is a good start to this process.
4. With a water birth, you can give birth in a comfortable position.
Giving birth on your back is not the most comfortable and effective position for most women. If you give birth in a hospital bed, however, this is the position you will be relegated to. With a water birth, you can position yourself however you like in the pool. Many women find that crouching down as labor intensifies makes them more comfortable. Others like to lean over the edge of the pool or lay on their sides.
If you are considering a water birth, definitely take the time to talk to midwives and birth centers in your area. Water births can be a safe, wonderful option when overseen by the right professionals.