KNOWN BENEFITS OF WATER LABOUR AND WATERBIRTH - DON'T BE SCARED!!
• Facilitates mobility and enables the mother to assume any position which is comfortable for labour and birth
• Speeds up labour
• Allows baby to be born without pulls of gravity, so her body and nervous system can align quicker with much less 'shock' to her senses
• Is like being born into a bigger womb which also holds baby's mommy! The baby can see in this warm, soft place and can meet mommy gently with a slow change of environment. Left under the water for 3 to 5 seconds or so, the baby can be seen to 'reset' it's nervous system, with a jerk, ready to use it's newly functioning systems. This happens easily for the baby in water and does happen whenvin mom's arms, but takes a bit longer. Barbara Harper calls birth pools - 'A womb with a view" !
• Reduces mother's blood pressure - this is why swimming and relaxing in deep warm water during pregnancy is so good for well-being.
• Gives mother more feelings of control and helps her to trust and listen to her body - The baby's turns and twists, moving downwards can be felt clearly by mom when in the water - more so than a dry land birth.
• Provides significant pain relief - crucial information which needs to be made more widely known to all pregnant and prospectively pregnant women.
(Dr Julia Sanders from 'NICE' -'National Institute for Clinical Excellence' in the United Kingdom, states that it is second only in pain relief to an epidural).
• Promotes relaxation
• Conserves her energy
• Reduces the need for drugs and interventions
• Gives mother a private protected space
• Resistance from the water significantly reduces perineal trauma and eliminates need for episiotomies
• Reduces cesarean section rates
• Is highly rated by mothers - typically stating they would only labour and/ or give birth in water again
• Is highly rated by experienced providers
• Encourages an easier birth for mother and a gentler welcome for baby
Placing a pool of water in a birth room changes the atmosphere immediately. Voices get softer, the mother stays calmer and everyone becomes less stressed.
The effect of buoyancy that deep water immersion creates allows spontaneous movement of the mother. No one has to help the mother get into a new position. She moves as her body and the position of the baby dictate. Movement helps open the pelvis, allowing the baby to descend.
(Water depth is recommended to be 20 inches to be effective in labour).
When a woman in labour relaxes in a warm deep bath, free from gravity’s pull on her body, with sensory stimulation reduced, her body is less likely to secrete stress-related hormones. This allows her body to produce the pain inhibitors -endorphins-that complement labour. Noradrenaline and catecholamines, the hormones that are released during stress, actually raise the blood pressure and can inhibit, slow or even stop labour. A labouring woman who is able to relax physically, is able to relax mentally as well. Many women, midwives, and doctors acknowledge the analgesic effect of water. Thousands of these mothers state they would never be able to consider labouring without water again.
Birth happens between the ears - not between the legs!
Information from Waterbirth International
Here is a valuable source of information to help you to make an informed choice for your birth.