Welcoming Baby in Water
Before I had kids, I truly didn’t understand why expecting mothers wanted to have their babies anyplace other than a hospital bed. Doctors know best, right? That is why I didn’t think twice about having my first child at the hospital, and following all of the orders given.
I obviously didn’t know much about the whole labor and birthing process. I didn’t know how empowering it could be to give birth MY way, and how defenseless I could feel giving birth THEIR way. It was during the pregnancy with my second child that I searched for other alternatives. After doing some research and talking to different people, I decided to have my baby in a pool in my kitchen – best decision I ever made. There are so many benefits to laboring and delivering in water, whether it be at home or elsewhere.
Movement – You have the freedom to rotate and change your position easily. When you are experiencing a contraction lying horizontally on a bed, it is often difficult to move your body in a way that will alleviate pain. In the water, it is much easier to turn around and get comfortable.
Relaxation – The warmth and comfort of being in the water relaxes your body and lets labor happen more smoothly. When you are tense, it becomes difficult to manage strong contractions. In a state of relaxation, you can take the long, deep breaths required to calmly get you through labor and delivery (yes, birthing CAN be a calm process).
Positioning for Delivery – Being in the water makes it easier to keep gravity in mind. It is much better to deliver your baby down than across. The position you are in when you are in labor can help determine how long the whole process takes.
Tearing – The water helps to keep the perineum elastic so that it will stretch more readily.
Calmer Baby – Since baby has been floating around in your amniotic sac for 9 months, arriving to the world in water is comforting. It is a more gradual introduction to the world than the conventional method, so baby tends to be calmer upon birth.
Some mothers choose to just labor in a pool of water, and get out for delivery. If you give birth at a hospital, this might be your only option anyway. Most birthing centers have tubs or pools of water that they will allow you to deliver in. If you choose to deliver at home, you can even rent one to use. With my water birth, my midwife brought the pool to my house a couple of weeks before my due date and we set it up when labor first started. I was in and out of it during labor, but stayed in once active labor started. It was easy to regulate the temperature, and to stay calm throughout the process. Out of my three births thus far, this one was my favorite, by far
Krista currently lives in the Salt Lake Valley with her husband, three children, and dog. She loves reading, writing, and discussing childbirth and natural parenting methods and ideas. She has been a science teacher for the past decade, but resigned for a bit after having her third child this year. Now she can spend more time being crafty and playing with her children. See more of her writing at Everything Little Ones.