The Benefits of Having a Waterbirth
In your birth plan, you should have detailed your preference of birthing method. One of these is the waterbirth.
Water birthing is basically what it sounds like it is; giving birth while in water. This can be done at home (with the assistance of a midwife or doula, preferably), or at a hospital. The water is warm, and the introduction of the baby into the world is much less tramautic, as it is delivered into an environment that is much like the one it has been living in for nine months. Water birth is relatively new; standard protocols for water births occurring in hospitals were first introduced as recently as 1991.
Here are just some of waterbirth's benefits:
- Waterbirthing, as discussed above, offers a smoother transition into the outside world for the child.
- Waterbirthing offers relaxation for the mother. Think about it… When you’ve had a stressful day, doesn’t it always feel good to come home and take a nice hot shower or bubble bath? It can also lower blood pressure, further evidence that it is good for a mother’s stress levels.
- Water birthing provides natural pain relief thanks to the warm temperature of the water acting on the muscles. This is an especially appealing benefit for me, as I do not plan to take an epidural or any other kind of synthetic pain reliever. Unlike epidurals, no evidence has been shown that the use of water to manage pain can lead to an increased likelihood of a c-section, or longer births.
- Water births have a decreased risk of perinea tearing and an (surgical cutting of the perineum), due to the increased elasticity that the water provides for the skin. episiotomy
- Floating around in the water allows the mother to try different positions to give birth. By the way, the traditional position in which a woman gives birth in a hospital bed could possibly be the worst ever, seeing as how it actually creates a smaller opening in the pelvis. It is believed that it was first used because it allows the doctor to sit in a comfortable position during delivery. In water, a woman can squat, further facilitating gravity to help push her baby out.
- Although this one may seem farfetched… some psychologists believe that babies brought into the word via water birth tend to be gentler mannered adults and have less likelihood of solving their problems with violence.
I strongly recommend any woman that has thought about water birthing to give it a shot. If I could travel to a hospital that would accommodate me, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I also strongly recommend that all mothers, expecting or not, check out the very enlightening documentary that Ricki Lake has produced, “The Business of Being Born.”