The Opposing Views on Water birth
Sometime when the concept of water birth is presented, people have a tendency to have polar opposite responses. They may envision it to be revolting, swimming in a pool of body secretions or unwinding like being in a health spa. They may envision it to be completely natural (because of course, the baby has been in a pool of water, not breathing for 9 months) or completely unnatural (besides we aren’t dolphins!). Or possibly they see it as a wonderful advancement in giving birth given that our mothers had very clinical, sterilized births or they may think it’s archaic like boiling water.
However, I discovered that when a woman is in labor, a pool of water is her ideal remedy to fatigue, stress and anxiety as well as pain. The majority of moms get in and never want to come out irregardless of whether they initially liked the idea or not. Previous worries about what is in the water totally vanish. She has managed to get back into her “groove” and feels the labor progressing and knows that the effects of water immersion have decreased adrenaline, increased Oxycontin, added the comforting pressure of hydro-static pressure on her body and improved mobility-making labor tolerable if not enjoyable.
Water birth for Relaxation and Pain Relief
Our practice only does normal, natural childbirth. We give water immersion and water birth much of the credit. Our clients have the advantage of a strong provider/patient partnership and the presence of their midwife continuously during active labor. Our moms are very well prepared for labor during their pregnancy because we spend 45 minutes or more during prenatal visits at which time our midwives’ provide teaching, and health coaching. We also have Mary Kury, our childbirth educator, who teaches childbirth classes. We welcome our client’s to use doula services, if you need recommendations, we can provide them upon request. We are patient with labor, never quick to induce or augment labor. We like to see labor progress with walking and swaying and ball-sitting. But absolutely nothing makes labor more manageable and beautiful than water birth.
Water birth Safety
Naturally safety continues to be the issue of many individuals as well as groups like American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Academy of Pediatrics. Their committee point of view released on May 2014 stated that the evidence supporting the safety of water birth is lacking and so they do not recommend this pain relieving measure for labor. While the American College of Nurse-Midwives has a much more positive position on water birth.
It actually does not matter how “natural” the birth is if the mother and baby are not OK. All of us agree with that sentiment. The Midwives at Labors of Love Midwifery and Birth Center has caught hundreds of water babies safely without even one adverse effect related to the birth under water. I know for a fact that babies do not breathe under the water because of my own experiences. I believe that our sample size combined with many other midwives’ data across the USA is significant and conclusions of water birth safety could be found there. We will soon be able to give definitive evidence of water birth safety.
Additional Benefits of Water birth
Benefits of water birth beyond pain relief and relaxation include reduced perineum trauma, quicker labor, reduced blood pressure and pulse in mother, fewer infections (as Barbara Harper of Water birth International says “the solution to pollution is dilution!”) and reduced need for cesarean section. Our experience at Labors of Love Midwifery and Birth Center is that water birth is loved by mother and baby alike. The baby is greeted by a mother who calm and hormonally primed to begin mothering. We just stand back quietly and observe the beginning of the single most significant relationship the baby will ever have in its life without interfering with God’s/Nature’s perfect plan for bonding at birth.
It is not the water that makes the birth natural, rather the water makes a natural birth much more probable. No matter your initial reaction to the concept of water birth, I believe it is worth your consideration.
Please contact us for more information about your desire for a water birth.