Why are more and more women choosing to birth their baby in water? There are many reasons why waterbirth has become a popular birth choice in Australia today. These range from a more supportive environment for the birthing woman – with a more relaxed atmosphere for the labour – to a calm and gentle birth for your baby. Waterbirth is becoming more readily available throughout Australia.
Only a short time ago waterbirth was only an option for those women feeling confident and comfortable to birth their baby in their own home with a Midwife. Nowadays, waterbirth is offered in many Birth Centres and some Maternity Hospitals where the Midwives are trained and experienced in birthing in the water.
If you are interested in having a waterbirth it's best to check the options in your area early, as some Birth Centres and Hospitals have limited places. Homebirth Midwives often hire birthing pools to use in your own home.
Some of the advantages of waterbirth include :
• Mothers often report a feeling of less stress and more connection with their baby in the water.
• Warm water is an effective way of helping the birthing woman to relax and centre herself as her baby moves down the birth canal.
• Fathers find it easier to be fully present and support their partner in the water.
• Birth in water can be a very nurturing and bonding experience for mother, father and baby – being in the birth pool together creates a feeling of intimacy.
• Physically the benefits of birthing in the water for the mother include – lower blood pressure, reduction of pain and the perineum is more likely to stay intact.
• Benefits for the baby include a more gentle transition from the warmth and fluidity of their mother's womb into the world If you feel drawn to give birth to your baby in water, take the time to research the information available in pregnancy books and web sites.
It's also a good idea to watch DVDs on the topic to give you more insight into what to expect. An excellent waterbirth film "The Art of Birth" is available from Natures Child.
Other Reasons to Consider a Waterbirth
• Our bodies are made up of a large percentage (50-70%) of water, it seems natural that we are drawn to the water.
•We begin our lives floating in the safety of our mother's womb, warm water can naturally give us a feeling of safety.
•Babies do not take their first breath until they emerge from the water, their natural 'diving' reflex prevents them from trying to breathe in the water.
•Baby can then be brought to the surface gently to breathe and enjoy skin-to-skin contact with Mum in the water Remember to trust your intuition – it's important for you to feel completely comfortable with your choice of birth place. A birthing mother always feels more empowered when she is supported to birth her baby in the way and the environment she chooses.
C. Anna Watts 2007 Anna Watts is a Childbirth Educator and Counsellor, supporting pregnant women and their families since 1990. Anna facilitates regular 'Celebration of Birth' weekends for pregnant women and their partners in Byron Bay and Sydney – www.celebrationofbirth.com