Waterbirth is Wonderful!
My first baby was a waterbirth. It was the most glorious experience. My second baby was a planned homebirth hospital transfer and ended in an caesarean. I don’t think I ever get past the sadness I feel that one of my children has such a beautiful and gentle entry into the world while the other had such a brutal and frightening arrival.
But a bit like PamelaM when I first heard about waterbirth I was convinced it was dangerous. I think a lot of fear around waterbirth stems from the fact that we are land-bound mammals and as such we may insider birth in water just a bit odd. Keep in mind though that a human baby’s body is almost 75% water!
Waterbirth offers many benefits to both mother and baby, as noted in this article and many others on this site in the waterbirth section.
One important thing to remember is that human babies are born with the Mammalian Diving Reflex. This reflex prevents humans from inhaling when their face is submerged in water. It is the absence of water (or amniotic fluid) over their face and contact with air pressure, that triggers a baby’s first breath. Simply put there is no threat that a newborn will inhale water during the birth process, since its trigger to breathe oxygen is not present until it makes contact with the air. Until they do, a newborn is still receiving oxygen from the umbilical cord.
Waterbirth is a wonderful option for birth and I would definitely encourage women to consider it! :o
I had 3 births outside of the water but I loved to actually labour in the water. What I was most concerned about was that if I gave birth in the water, my baby might try to breathe underwater.
When I shared this concern with my midwife she reassured me that babies will not try to breathe until their face is out of the water. Learning this is what tipped the scales for me to have a water birth. I ended up having my last two babies in the water and they were the fastest, easiest and least painful births of all. I did not have an episiotomy and I did not tear during my waterbirths.
Waterbirths are amazing - much easier on mum AND baby.
What was your biggest fear relating to your friend's waterbirth? Sometimes a fear is actually something we don't need to be afraid of. My fear certainly was. I just didn't know that babies won't try to breathe until their face hits air.
Hi Kate, Thank you for sharing your experience and fear. I had the same fear but now this is gone after reading here. I appreciate your advice that you at least insist on having a pool in the room. I have a concern that for my first delivery they will force me to have a c-section as this may be an easy option for them.
HI Sidra - Welcome to the forum. Having water available during labour can reduce interventions. The other thing you can do is consider very carefully who you have with you in labour regarding health professionals i.e. supportive midwife or doctor. Also consider the option of having a doula.
Congratulations on your pregnancy.
As Jane has said above, there is lots of support available to help you have the birth you want. You have the right to have the birth you wish for. Six months ago I had a wonderful hypnobirth and I learnt how empowering birth can be. I thought it may be appropriate to share this quote with you:
“Remember this, for it is as true and true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.”
― Ina May Gaskin, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
We look forward to supporting you in all things baby related!
My first baby was born into water at home under the care of an Independent Midwife. As Kate and LJ mentioned, water is a well-known pain relief option for labour and birth. It is submersion in water and the sense of weightlessness that accompanies it (the same as when you go in a pool normally) which provides greatest relief but standing (kneeling, sitting etc) under a running shower is also wonderful as gez15673. With my second baby I was transferred to hospital. The bath wasn't an option - but the shower was such a wonderful relief.