Here at Carolina Waterbirth we have seen firsthand how laboring and birthing in warm water truly brings comfort to both the mother and baby, but what’s the science behind that? Why exactly is “the Midwife’s epidural” the choice so many women are making these days? We all know how a hot bath at the end of a long day provides relief for your aching muscles and sets your mind at ease, but birthing in a tub of water seems like a totally different thing altogether! Believe it or not, more and more birthing facilities are offering water birth as an option, which is great. Around here we consider ourselves experts on this topic, so let’s check out the facts.
What are the benefits?
There are so many benefits to birthing in the water instead of on a bed (or any variation of on land), but here are a few we have noticed…
I won’t lie, I have occasionally seen mommas climb into the tub and immediately say “NOPE” and climb right out. All of the online videos these days can make you think that waterbirth is the goal. I encourage parents to remain fluid in labor and listen to their intuition. If being in the birth tub or being in any other position for that matter doesn’t feel right, change it! At Carolina Waterbirth we have plenty of space to walk around, squat assists, stairs to climb, and of course beds to get comfy in as well.
Sometimes folks wonder, how on earth a midwife catches a baby that is born in the water. As your midwife, you won’t catch me hopping in with you. I don’t wear a swimsuit or a scuba suit. Our team at Carolina Waterbirth wears scrubs to births and when it’s time to help baby out, we slip on some very fancy arm length gloves. This keeps our clothes protected and keeps our germs out of your water! We love having partners there for support during labor. It is always fun when dads want to catch their babies and we encourage them to! There is plenty of seating around the tub so that everyone has the space they need. We also encourage partners to take pictures during labor (as desired). These are memories you don’t want to go uncaptured.
A few precautions are necessary when birthing in the water. First of all, we keep the water right around 100 degrees. The similarity in temperature ensures that baby won’t be surprised once they’re out (and try to breathe too early). If desired, we provide support for your vaginal tissues as baby’s head emerges. The head must be delivered while completely submerged in the water. Baby is still connected their lifeline (umbilical cord) and therefore, cannot “drown” in the water. They will go from being in amniotic fluid to being in the warm water. Once the rest of baby emerges, we (or your partner) can lift baby to your tummy for that first look, where they will take their first breath!
Laboring and delivering in a birth pool is a safe and effective coping tool that many women find helpful while giving birth. If you feel this is the right choice for you, reach out today to schedule your consultation at Carolina Waterbirth, the Upstate’s oldest birth center.
To read more about waterbirth and its benefits check out these sites: