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The Benefits of a Home Water Birth

Posted Apr 11 2011 12:00am
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    As you await the arrival of your baby, there are many decisions to be made, from which cot bed mattress and dÈcor to the very crucial issue of what type of birth you want to have. Today, more and more women are opting for home water births. Some members of the medical community remain skeptical about water-births; although there is significant evidence that it is not only a safe option in healthy pregnancies, but that giving birth in water has distinct advantages over the traditional hospital birth experience. After all, women have been giving birth with little or no medical intervention for decades. Water birth is a natural alternative which is less traumatic for both the mother and the baby.

    If youíve ever sought relief from aching muscles, back or joint pain by soaking in a warm bath, you know the pain relieving properties of water. Warm water induces relaxation, significantly reducing the pain of childbirth by decreasing the levels of stress hormones and increasing the levels of beta endorphins, your body’s natural pain killers. Hospitals often use unnecessary interventions including labour-inducing drugs which can produce extremely intense, painful contractions. That generally leads to the administration of an epidural to address the pain. Epidurals can interfere with the urge to push increasing the risk of fetal distress, which may result in an emergency Cesarean section. Conversely, only ten percent of women undergoing water-births ask for any type of pain medication. Natural pain relief methods such as massage, meditation, homeopathy, hypnotherapy or aromatherapy are more commonly used.

    Labouring in warm water has other advantages. There is generally a dramatic decrease in blood pressure that occurs within minutes of entering the water. The pelvis opens up for easier delivery and labour is speeded up. Cervical dilation is more efficient compared to other birthing methods; a rate of 2.5 centimeters per hour for water labour compared 1.25 centimeters per hour, so women experience shorter labours. Additionally, the water serves to soften the perennial tissues, resulting in fewer perennial tears and eliminating the need for episiotomies.

    Another advantage of water births is that a birthing tub or pool allows you freedom of movement while you are in labour. You can literally float into a more comfortable position, supported by the water, allowing you to conserve your energy for the actual birth. Immersion in a birthing tub positions you ideally for giving birth, significantly increasing the fetal decent rate and shortening the birth process.

    And finally, water births introduce your little one into the world in a gentle, natural way. After floating warm and secure in your uterus for nine months, suddenly being squeezed out into a bright, cold, noisy world has to be a shocking transition. In a water birth, your baby slides out into warm water and is gently lifted out and placed in your arms where they usually begin to nurse right away. Dad is often also in the tub during the birth and if not, he and/or other family members or close friends are close by to share those first few precious moments of the new arrival’s life.


    Jamie Anderson is an extremely happy and lively parent with two little children named Amelia and Freddie. Jamie also enjoys shooting family portrait photography and writing about anything parenting related. In any spare few minutes he has, he writes and manages the blog for a major UK named retailer Baby Planet and his own family site. Baby Planet sells a comprehensive range of all things baby related and for parents of young children including pushchairs, toddler beds and car booster seats.

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