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What is a water birth?

waterbirth

You already know that a warm bath can soothe sore muscles and help you relax. It makes sense, then, that for many moms a water birth—when your labor, delivery or both are done in a birth tub filled with warm water—makes the birthing experience less painful and more soothing.

You may not be an ideal candidate for water birth if:

  • You are having a multiple birth
  • You have experienced complications such as preeclampsia or premature labor
  • You have existing medical conditions
  • Are considered a high-risk pregnancy
  • Your baby is premature (less than 37 weeks)
  • Your baby is in the breech position
  • Your baby has first bowel movement while still inside (meconium stained fluid)

However, if your pregnancy has been healthy and your baby is well positioned, there are many benefits of water birthing.

While epidural and intrathecal pain control methods cannot be used during a water birth, you may not miss them. Studies have shown that having all or part of your labor in water reduces pain, in part by decreasing adrenaline production, allowing for a shorter labor, and by decreasing the pressure on your abdomen, which means better blood circulation and more oxygen to both you and your baby.

The water also helps reduce the incidence and severity of tearing, and the buoyancy makes it easier for you to move and find a position that is comfortable. The more relaxed and comfortable you are, the more you will be able to focus on the process of birth as it’s happening. Continue Reading »

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