by Justine Deputy, RN, BSN
The Birth Center is proud to offer waterbirth to clients during labor. But what is waterbirth? What are the benefits? Is it for YOU?
Waterbirth is the act of giving birth in a tub filled with warm water. Water is a soothing method of labor support providing relaxation and a peaceful environment. The water assists a woman in remaining calm during labor and helps her to focus on labor.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (2015), benefits of water birth include:
- Physical and mental relaxation
- Decreased anxiety and fear
- Increased energy for the mother in later stages of labor
- Free movement and option for various positions as a result of the buoyancy effect of water
- Improved circulation improving oxygenation for uterine muscles and baby as well as lower levels of pain for mom
- Decreased blood pressure
- Lower stress related hormones and increased endorphins decreasing pain
- Relaxation of perineum, decreasing risk of tearing
- Decreased stress of birth on baby
Because water promotes relaxation and movement, baby is able to maneuver through the pelvis more easily. Decreased gravity makes movement more natural and easier for mom. Midwives, nurses, and mothers both at The Birth Center and across the world recommend waterbirth for the calm and relaxing experience the water provides. Here is an experience from a Birth Center mama:
“Having a waterbirth was important to me, and I was so grateful we got to have the experience. My grandmother always said, “baths are so good they could heal a broken bone.” Though that might not be the case, there is truth in it. Water for me has always brought with it healing properties of relaxation and tension release. It is a therapy of sorts. So when labor started to get real, the first thing I wanted was the water. When I got in the tub it relaxed my body. Though I still felt the surges pulse through my body, it was only my uterus doing the work. The rest of my body was able to remain loose. I would fall totally asleep between surges, leaning on my husband on the side of the tub. If I felt that I needed to move, it was very easy in the water, since you could sort of float to a new position. It seemed as though the water worked with my birthing. And to see my baby as she was brought up to my chest like a little wet fish… that was a glorious moment, and I will never forget it. I’m so glad I had a water baby and would certainly do it again with my next baby, whenever that might be!” ~ Jennifer Sikes, Mama to Audenae and Birth Center Nurse
Do you enjoy baths? Do you find warm water relaxing? Waterbirth may be beneficial for you during your labor! The Birth Center has waterbirth tubs in three of our birth suites that mothers can labor and give birth in.
American Pregnancy Association. (2015). Waterbirth. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/water-birth/