You may be wondering the following about waterbirthing:
• "How can water reduce the pain?"
• "Is it safe and beneficial to have my baby in the water?"
• "Is a home waterbirth better than a hospital birth?"
The benefits of waterbirth are many, and we invite you to explore this website to read about our clients' waterbirth experiences and take advantage of the links to do additional research.
Here is a list of waterbirthing benefits compiled by Andrea Eastman MA, CCE, IBCLC , which provides a nice summary:
1. Greater comfort and mobility. The mother has greater ease and freedom to move spontaneously and to change position to assist the descent of the baby.
2. Reduction of pressure on the abdomen. Buoyancy promotes more efficient uterine contractions and better blood circulation resulting in better oxygenation to the uterine muscles, less pain for the mother, and more oxygen for the baby.
3. Helps mother to conserve her energy. Immersion reduces opposition to gravity; supports the mother's weight so that her energy can be used to cope with the contractions.
4. Promotes deeper relaxation. As a woman relaxes deeply, her hormones will kick in and she will start progressing faster and with more rhythm; labor becomes more efficient.
5. Water relaxes the pelvic floor muscles. Minimizes pain to the levels at which relief by other methods are no longer needed. Water stimulates the touch and temperature nerve fibers in the skin and so blocks impulses from the pain fibers, known as the Gate Theory of Pain. Immersion is often more effective and safer than an epidural.
6. Facilitates a dysfunctional labor. Can be a way to stimulate dilation of the cervix when the mother has difficulty progressing into the active stage of labor. Can reduce need for drugs to artificially stimulate labor often, getting into the pool may result in dramatic and rapid progress to full dilation within an hour or two.
7. Lowering of blood pressure. When anxiety is causing high blood pressure, immersion in water may help lower it.
8. Change of consciousness. Immersion helps relieve anxiety and promotes relaxation. Allows a woman to let go and to focus inward as labor strengthens.
9. Easier breathing. The moist air makes it easier to breathe and can be helpful to women with asthma.
10. Facilitates the second stage of labor. Mothers are less inhibited in the water. The warm water softens the vagina, vulva, and perineum, leading to fewer injuries to these issues.
We recommend the following websites on waterbirth. For an extensive list of websites on birth, pregnancy, homebirth and related topics, please visit the Favorite Links Page in our Resources section.
Birth Balance - A resource dedicated to integrating balance and birth since 1987.
Comadres Institute - Enhancing the health of women and families through the art and science of midwifery.
Waterbirth.org - A great resource site for information on waterbirth.
The Waterbirth Website - A comprehensive website about waterbirth, includes links.