One of the most common reasons my clients choose home birth and care with a Midwife is their desire for a water birth. Laboring in water is a great way to reduce pain, promote relaxation and help you achieve the empowering natural birth you want. Studies have shown waterbirth to be associated with a shorter first (active) and second (pushing) stage of labor, a lower episiotomy rate and is not associated with adverse maternal or fetal outcomes.
It has long been suggested that anxiety and pain trigger a stress response which can slow or even stop labor. By aiding relaxation and promoting pain relief, laboring in water may overcome this stress response and thus shorten labor. The buoyancy offered by submersion is unparalleled in its ability to promote relaxation. Laboring in water is often called the "aqua-dural" or Midwife's epidural. While there are no drugs involved, the reported pain relief is significant; the release of endorphins (your body's own pain relief) is increased.
More advantages of immersion in water during labor also include increased movement as well as improved positioning in different stages of labor. It's important to be able to change positions in order to change the diameter of the pelvis as the baby navigates through it. The buoyancy of water promotes this freedom of movement, increasing the functional diameter of the pelvis which leads to less "stuck" babies and less unnecessary interventions.
Baby can be monitored easily during a waterbirth. I perform fetal heart monitoring at regular intervals with a Doppler that can go under water. In the second stage of labor, care is taken to slow birth the of the head resulting in less tearing. Your newborn is placed gently in your arms within seconds but without rushing and I can easily assess you and baby from a distance while your new family falls in love. If interventions for baby are truly necessary, they can take place skin to skin, which has long been established as the ideal.
Planning a waterbirth in a hospital can be difficult as many practitioners are not experienced or skilled with water birth. Many Connecticut hospitals have policies that are not evidence based which requires pushing out of the water, or getting out immediately after the birth to deliver the placenta. This defeats many of the purposes outlined above, increases interventions and subsequently increases dissatisfaction with the experience.
If you live in CT and have any questions about planning a waterbirth please feel free to call, email, or contact me through the website contact page. I will be happy to address your concerns and help you have the water birth of your dreams. Over 80% of my clients plan a water birth and I feel confident in supporting their choices.
Disclaimer: This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.