Benefits of Home Water Birth
Pregnant women in growing numbers around the world are discovering the benefits of home water birth.
Most women report shorter, easier and sometimes even painless or orgasmic birthing experiences thanks to home water birth.
In this article we will explore the benefits of home water birth, answer common questions, and share real life water birth stories.
The UK-based National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) states that birthing pools are second only to epidurals in alleviating pain.
Dr Julia Sanders, a consultant midwife, and a member of the group who drew up the guidance says:
“There is a perception that water is just nice. But it is the most effective form of pain relief barring an epidural in labour. “I would like to see more women using water and fewer women using the types of pain relief that are less effective.”
In addition to the significant pain relief benefits of water birth it also reduces C- section rates, reduces the need for drugs and other interventions, and lowers blood pressure.
The water works to provide a private and protected space for you, and it promotes relaxation which decreases the stress hormones in your body and increases your pain killing beta endorphins making the contraction easier to handle, and allowing you to conserve your energy.
In the water you have more freedom of movement which allows you to float into positions that feel comfortable to you.
Water birth encourages the opening of the pelvis, has been known to speed labor, softens the perennial tissues, reduces perenial tears and eliminates episiotomies.
Skilled practioners report that it is much easier to deliver a breech or shoulder dystocia baby in the water and many Mommas who have had a home water birth say that they couldn’t imagine birthing without it.
Water birth also creates a gentler entrance for your baby. Coming from the warm water of your womb into the warm water of the world allows for a gentler and easier transition.
Home Water Birth Information And F.A.Q.
How much does a home water birth cost?
It really depends. I rented my waterbirth tub from my midwife for $5, but if you don’t have that option you can rent a portable pool online for about $350-$375 shipping is included in that cost. They are all sanitized and come with new unused liners that cover the entire inside of the tub. You will also have to pay a midwife to attend your birth, which costs around $2,000 (where I live). It is actually much less expensive to give birth at home than in a hospital. The average cost of an uncomplicated hospital birth in the Unites States is more than $8,000.
How do I fill the water birth tub?
You’ll want to get a lead free hose, and a simple connector piece from any hardware store that will hook up to your sink. One side hooks to the sink and one to the tub. Try it out in advance, before your birthing day arrives to make sure it all fits and works. They usually use the same hose for siphoning the tub after the birth which the midwives take care of.
What is the temperature of the water?
It should be warm and comfortable for your, usually between 95-100 degrees is perfect, but never over 100 degrees. If it’s too hot it could cause your body temperature to rise to a point where your baby’s heart rate increases. Make sure to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and keep a spray bottle on hand for cool misting. Most tubs have heaters but sometimes they don’t work too well. You can heat water on the stove to add to the tub in large, lead-free, stainless steel pots.
What can I put in the water?
Tap water right from the sink is typically used in the birthing tub. You can put essential oils & herbs in the tub for added comfort, lavender is excellent, but stay away from anything minty that may make your baby’s eyes or skin burn.
When should I get into the water?
Whenever you feel ready. It feels great to take a bath during your early birthing time as kind of a trail run before getting into the tub. Sometimes getting into the birth tub too early can slow down the contractions and sometimes it can speed them up. You will need to see what works best for you.
The tub takes a pretty long time to fill up, so chances are by the time it’s ready, you will be ready to get in.
When I was giving birth I got into the birthing tub as soon as I could and it was a bliss and I didn’t want to leave.
How do they measure the baby’s heart rate underwater?
They use a water Doppler a small hand held device that can go under the water.
What prevents my baby from breathing under water?
How it was explained to me is that there are systems within the babies body that prevent the baby from breathing under the water. Your baby breathes through the placenta until his face comes in contact with the air, and coming in contact with the air your baby to take her first breath.
Fore more specifics go to www.WaterBirth.org
How long is the baby under the water after the birth?
Typically no longer than 10 seconds, but babies can be left in for longer without danger. As long as the umbilical cord is still pulsing your baby is still breathing through the placenta, but there is no way of knowing when the change over will take place, so to be safe it’s best to allow a few seconds for the baby to get used to the water and then slowly and calmly lift him out and give him to his Momma.
Home Water Birth Safety And Possible Risks
Barbara Harper- the founder of Waterbirth International talks about the guidelines and risk factors of a home water birth in this article:
The Canadian Medical Association published a new study in September 2009. Their findings were that outcomes of homebirth with a registered midwife were the same as the outcomes of a hospital birth attended by a doctor or midwife.
Some Water Birth Stories From The Web
Here are some natural water birth stories from www.WaterBirth.org
All I could think of was, ‘Aah. Relief!!’ A soothing, relaxing, warmth engulfed me. I love warm baths and it just seemed so natural and relaxing.”
-Bethany, mother of Patrick
“My first waterbirth and I am HOOKED! It was so awesome. It’s just too hard to put into words. My body was so relaxed by the water that I didn’t even realize I was delivering my baby’s head!!!”
- Brandi, mother of Caleb Neal
“Luna, my youngest son’s birth, was so wonderful and gentle being in the water. Laboring in water helped to absorb the contractions and make me more comfortable. Luna was born in February, which is an Aquarius, a water sign, which is fitting. *laugh* To this day he is the most water-loving child at such a young age that I’ve ever known. Waterbirth is amazing!…
-Summer, mother of Luna Raye
The minute I got into the tub, my entire demeanor changed. I became focused, alert and not afraid anymore. I would honestly say the first hour of labor out of the tub was ten times worse than anything else.
-Maria, mother of Grayson Avery Daniel
For more natural water birth stories visit www.WaterBirth.org
My Home Water Birth Story
I will never forget that magical moment when my daughter floated gracefully out into the water with amazing wisdom in her wide open eyes, looking as calm as the breeze on a summers day…