Sunday, June 12, 2011

Benefits of Water Birth

Water Birth is offered in many birthing suites across the country and also experienced in many homebirths, as well. What is the attraction of birthing in water? Why would anyone want to sit in a tub to birth a baby?

Here are some surprising benefits to water birth:

  • Less pain. Laboring in a warm tub of water has been called a "natural epidural" by natural chilbirth enthusiasts. The warmth of the water releives back pressure, round ligament pain, and the pressure caused by the baby descending deeper into the pelvis.
  • Less weight. Mom feels less weight as the water lifts the heavy uterus and it's contents, allowing her some relief from the heaviness experienced during labor.
  • Positioning dynamics. A baby who is not coming in a vertex position, but insists on breech or even posterior can be born with less distress in the water. The weightlessness of the water allows for a gentler birth for babies who are coming breech or posterior, giving them time to maneuver their way through the birth canal.
Standard precautions include preparing the birth tub by sterilizing it first, and then filling with pure water. No chemicals should be added. The temperature must be warm, but not hot. The birth attendants can keep the water free from fecal debris released by the mother with small fish nets. The cord must remain intact while baby is underwater to ensure a constant oxygen supply. As with a natural birth out of water, baby may be brought immediately to the breast for food, warmth and bonding.

Even if a woman doesn't give birth in water, most mom's appreciate laboring in either a shower or tub to help manage the pain and discomfort. Standing in a warm shower or kneeling in a warm tub of water can bring sweet relief to a laboring mom.

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