For many moms, a water birth makes the birthing experience less painful and soothing. Wondering if you are an ideal candidate for water birth?
You already know that a warm bath can soothe sore muscles and help you relax. It makes sense, then, that for many moms a water birth – when your labor, delivery or both are done in a birth tub filled with warm water – makes the birthing experience less painful and more soothing. If your pregnancy has been healthy and your baby is well positioned, there are many benefits of water birthing.
While epidural and intrathecal pain control methods cannot be used during a water birth, you may not miss them. Studies have shown that having all or part of your labor in water reduces pain, in part by decreasing adrenaline production, allowing for a shorter labor, and by decreasing the pressure on your abdomen, which means better blood circulation and more oxygen to both you and your baby. The water also helps reduce the incidence and severity of tearing, and the buoyancy makes it easier for you to move and find a position that is comfortable.
The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the more you will be able to focus on the process of birth as it’s happening.
Your baby benefits from water birthing, too. Since a water birth creates an environment similar to the amniotic sac, it eases the stress of birth and makes the transition feel more secure for your baby. If you choose to have all of your labor in water, you may even be able to pull your baby up for his or her first breath yourself! Your baby receives oxygen through the umbilical cord during the first few moments while underwater, and is perfectly safe as long as the cord and placenta are functioning as they should. Your baby will take his or her first breath when his or her skin makes contact with air.