According to Wasatch Midwifery and Wellness in Salt Lake City, water birth, as the name implies, means laboring and giving birth while submerged in a tub of warm water. Some women only labor in water but do not actually give birth in it, while others choose to labor and give birth in it, as well. The main purpose of the warm water is to relax the woman in labor as much as possible and to encourage the flow of birthing hormones.
Benefits of Water Birth
Minimizes pain. As the water provides buoyancy, it can make mothers feel lighter and reduces the feeling of pressure. Also, when a woman feels secured and loved, she releases a chemical called oxytocin, also known as a happy hormone. This hormone, when released, also releases beta-endorphins that act as natural pain relievers.
Reduced risk of tearing and episiotomy. Did you know that water birth can actually minimize the risk of having an episiotomy? It’s true. The water can soften the tissues between the anus and vagina, called the perineum, which lessens the risk of tearing as the head of the baby passes through it.
Encourages the release of labor hormones. As this practice creates a feeling of privacy and peace, it reduces the stress and anxiety normally experienced by mothers while giving birth. This allows them to listen to their bodies and allow their natural birthing instincts to take over. Water births are known to encourage the release of labor hormones that help reduce the length of labor and the pain associated with it by providing the women with physical and emotional relaxation as well as facilitating movement.
Is Water Birth for You?
Water birth is a viable alternative for women who wish for a more natural and private birthing experience. However, this is not for everyone. You are not a good candidate for a water birth if you are less than 17 years old or older than 35 and have complications such as diabetes, preeclampsia, or have an infection. This is also not possible for those giving birth to multiple babies, premature babies, and really large babies.
It is a very holistic way of giving birth, which provides women with a calm and peaceful birthing experience. This allows them to have a deeper connection with their body during labor, making the pain more bearable.