Giving birth underwater is not a new concept in the history of birth. However, from the 1980s it has gained popularity and now many women choose this option when planning the birth of their baby.
The warm water has a pain relieving effect on the labouring women, helping her to relax physically so helping her to mentally relax. She is then less likely to secrete stress-related hormones which are known to inhibit those endorphins which compliment labour.
The buoyancy of the water increases a women’s ability to mobilise in the water, so changing her position becomes less cumbersome. Changing positions frequently not only helps her to cope with the contractions but also aids the birth of the baby through the pelvis.
Waterbirth had no adverse effects on the baby and is comparative with those born on dry land. However, many midwives report a “waterbaby” appears more relaxed following delivery.
What about me?
Waterbirth is accessible both at hospital and home births for those women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Protocols are followed to ensure a waterbirth is a safe option for those women expressing a wish to birth underwater. Midwives are fully trained to facilitate waterbirths, so please ask for further information.