“People never sing…except in the bathroom. Birthing women also make their natural sounds next to running bath water. There is something about the power of water. People are drawn to water, spas, and sacred streams. Women in labor are drawn to water, too.”
Michel Odent, MD
Photographs of waterbirths often speak eloquently for the reasons to birth in the water. Mothers are comfortable, supported, and able to move easily. Babies are often calm, peaceful, and gently born. Privacy is inherent, (noone is sticking their head under water to look at you!) making some modest women feel freer.
For those who find baths soothing, deep water immersion is often a great help during labor. Water can reduce stress in a mother and her baby, facilitating endorphin release. Sometimes, water immersion moderates raised blood pressure, or reduces nausea and vomiting in labor.
A midwife skilled in assisting with waterbirth will know how to help a client decide when to be in the water. She will be able to evaluate the wellbeing of the mother and the baby while they are in the water, both before and after the birth. Her knowledge of the finer details of using water in labor and birth will help make the setup and maintenance of the tub easy for the birthing family. Monitoring of the baby’s heart rate and the vital signs can be done right in the tub, with as little disturbance as possible.
I attend waterbirth frequently. I have been influenced by the writing and teaching of waterbirth experts, including Cornelia Enning, Barbara Harper, and Michel Odent. Years of experience assisting with waterbirths and learning what works best helps me to best help clients.
If you are birthing with me, I will give you information about setting up for water labor and birth. New Moon clients can rent a low-cost inflatable loaner tub from me, can rent a tub from another source, can buy their own inexpensive inflatable tub, or can use their own bathtub.
For more information about waterbirth: