Photo Credit: Swaddle Shots Photography
The use of water immersion during labor and birth has become an increasingly popular option in the natural birth community due to the many benefits to both mom and baby. For baby, being born into water closely replicates the womb environment creating a gentle birth setting. And for mom, laboring and birthing in water has many benefits ranging from its soothing nature and pain relief to easily being able to reposition your body to follow its natural inclinations throughout labor.
At Health Foundations Birth Center, we frequently have women who desire a water birth. Our midwives are highly experienced in supporting women who wish to labor and/or give birth in water and both of our birthing suites are equipped with large built-in tubs that are available to you throughout your experience. Here are the top 10 benefits of having a water birth:
- Warm water during labor and delivery has been found to greatly reduce discomfort and increase relaxation for mom. The soothing nature of water helps mom to not only feel weightless but to experience the calming effects of hydrotherapy.
- Because mom is better able to relax during labor, less stress hormones are released and the body is able to produce more endorphins which have pain reducing effects.
- The buoyancy experienced in a water birth allows mom to move about freely and follow her body’s natural urges. This consequently can help the pelvis open and the baby descend into the birth canal more easily.
- Water immersion has been shown to lower blood pressure caused by anxiety. Because less stress hormones are released due to the calming nature of the water, many women report they are not only able to relax more physically but mentally as well.
- Another benefit of the buoyancy effect of water is that it has been shown to improve blood circulation leading to more efficient uterine contractions and ultimately a shorter labor duration.
- Improved blood circulation also creates better oxygenation of the uterine muscles and more oxygen for baby during labor. Improved oxygenation of the uterine muscles is also associated with decreased pain for mom.
- Water creates more elasticity to the perineum typically resulting in a lower incidence of perineal trauma and the need for stitches or an episiotomy. Water has also been shown to aid in relaxing the pelvic floor which is beneficial when it is time to push.
- Women who birth in water report feeling more in control of their bodies, the progression of labor and the birth of their baby. Because they are able to conserve energy due to increased relaxation, they often feel more clear-minded and strong when it comes time to push the baby out.
- Water births have been shown to reduce the likelihood of needing unplanned interventions, anesthesia, pain medications, and C-sections.
- In addition to the many amazing benefits a water birth provides for mom, perhaps one of the greatest benefits is the stress-free, calming and gentle welcome it provides for baby. Birthing in a warm water tub offers an environment that is similar to the womb where baby has snugly lived for nine months.
We are thrilled to be able to offer the option of water birth at Health Foundations and invite you to contact us for a free consultation with a midwife and for a tour of our Birth Center to learn more. The remarkable physiological and psychological benefits hydrotherapy provides to mom and baby make water birth a truly special birthing option for you and your family.
Photo Credit: Raven Ivory