When thinking of a water birth, the first thing that many people wonder about is how the baby breaths when born under water. The answer to that is that the baby doesn’t breath at all under water. During delivery, the baby is still getting it’s oxygen from the placenta combined with the fact that they are not born into an “air” environment. Once the newborn senses a change in their environment going from water to air, their first breath is taken. This happens due to chemical, hormonal and physical responses in the body.
The popularity of water births is growing more and more each year. The comforts and safety found while being in the birthing pool have women hooked and from those I have spoken to, wouldn’t give birth any other way. Being submerged in the warm water helps relieve the pain from contractions, can help you to dilate faster and the episiotomy rate is zero. However, if in a situation where one is needed, it can still be easily done.
In the early stages of labor the birthing pool may or may not be offered to you. For some women, soaking in the warm water can slow labor down or bring it to a stop and is a good way for some to find out if their labor is the real deal or not. This is the reason why when you are at home and feeling some contractions your doctor or midwife will suggest that you take a warm bath and call them back in 15 to 20 minutes if nothing has changed or has gotten worse. Once at the hospital most midwifes will want you to wait until dilated to at least 5cm and contractions are strong and steady if you are far enough along in your pregnancy. Women who can make it through the pain to that point without an epidural are generally home free from having to use anything other than the pool for pain management making the birthing pool popular for women who want to have an all natural birth even if not actually delivering in the water.
Birthing pools come in all sizes and can be rented for those that want to have their water birth at home or is working with a hospital that is not equipped to allow a water birth but willing to work with you. A great place to further your research on water births and find more information take a great site called Waterbirth International. Their website is filled with very useful information and research and even offer help in approaching your hospital to facilitate a water birth for you.
Have you had a water birth? If so, share your story here!