Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Water Births

As I muddle through where I want to have this third baby I keep running into the idea of water birth. My midwife is for water births. She told me a neat story that babies born in water "swim" the length of the tub and their umbilical cord. She said while a baby's skin has not been reached by air it will not breath but will continue to use the oxygen from the cord.

Yesterday the leading midwife in Latvia with water birth experience was on the radio and I just finished listening to the program. It was fascinating and makes me want to try. She said it is easier on the baby to be born in water. My midwife says the same and especially for big babies- she is promising me a big baby this time.

I have been reading about the topic and found this site helpful, here is a section of benefits copied from their page.

What are the potential benefits of water birth?

Benefits for Mother:
  • Water is soothing, comforting, relaxing.
  • In the later stages of labor, the water seems to increase the woman’s energy.
  • The buoyancy lessens her body weight, allows free movement and new positioning.
  • Buoyancy promotes more efficient uterine contractions and better blood circulation, resulting in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, less pain for the mother, and more oxygen for the baby.
  • Immersion in water often helps lower high blood pressure caused by anxiety.
  • Water seems to alleviate stress-related hormones, allowing the mother’s body to produce endorphins, which are pain-inhibitors.
  • Water causes the perineum to become more elastic and relaxed, which reduces the incidence and severity of tearing and the need for an episiotomy and stitches.
  • As the laboring women relaxes physically she is able to relax mentally, concentrating her efforts inward on the birth process.
  • The water provides a sense of privacy, which releases inhibitions, anxiety, and fears.
Benefits for Baby:
  • Provides a similar environment as the amniotic sac.
  • Eases the stress of the birth, providing reassurance and security.
A couple of my friends have also had their babies in water and are all for it. I guess my biggest fears/concerns are:
  • Privacy- I think I would feel too exposed in the water. 
  • Comfort- With my births at home I have gone in the tub and didn't like it during my contractions. But the tub is small at home and I didn't have freedom of movement. I don't know if water is my friend enough for me to enjoy a water birth.
And yet I still feel tempted to try this. I want something easier this time. What are your personal experiences? Have you had a water birth after a normal birth?

1 comment:

  1. I've never known anybody who has done a water birth, but I do hear there's a higher rate of infection for the mom. Of course, there's not really a good way to get the baby out no matter what you decide to do. :-)