Gary & Clarissa
We became home-study approved in November 2008 and went online with Parent Profiles in December 2008. There was an initial flurry of very promising instant-message contacts in January 2009 which had us all excited, but one turned out to be a scam, and the others ended up being (very sad) lost pregnancies or situations where the birthmoms decided to parent. Then we experienced a long lull with few contacts, which had us a more ...
Being born is a shock to the system, perhaps one of the harshest shocks a human being will ever face. To be expelled by force from a place of darkness and warmth into a place of harsh light, open air, and strange things you don't understand is without a doubt a most traumatic experience. For this reason, many new mothers are turning to the experience of a water birth.
In water birth, the mother is immersed in a tank of water warmed to her body temperature while she is giving birth. As long as there are no problems in the delivery, the baby is delivered into this warm, rather dark tank of water and kept in the water to adjust to the freedom of movement he suddenly finds; with the umbilical cord still attached, he has no necessity to breathe, though most water birth advocates do not suggest keeping the baby submerged after the whole body is delivered. Then he is gently brought forth from the water, and the umbilical cord is severed. Many water birth mothers say their babies don't even cry upon taking a first breath, just open their eyes and start breathing.
But what may be more important in a water birth is the water's relaxation effect on the mother. One of the hardest things to eliminate when a woman is giving birth is a woman's stress. But it's been shown that a warm bath can relax your muscles, helping to decrease your stress, and may ease your labor pains significantly. Some medical practitioners are wary of using water as a relaxation technique for fear that it can slow or stop a woman's labor, and won't allow a water birth to begin unless the mother is at least 5 centimeters dilated (if you've never had a baby, that's a lot of dilation and labor to go through usually more than half the labor process.) There is no evidence to suggest this is true; but few studies have been done on water birthing, so there is still the possibility that the doctor's right.
The most difficult thing with a water birth is convincing your practitioner to try it, and then getting your insurance to pay for it. Most hospitals don't offer a water birthing pool. You can talk to your doctor about trying it, and many water-birthing organizations online offer educational materials you can use to convince the hospital to let you give birth in this fashion. Many home-birthing midwifes are experienced in water births, on the other hand, and will know where you can rent a portable pool to give birth in (children's pools and your home bath tub aren't deep enough or roomy enough.)
Whatever your choice in how you give birth, stick to your guns. Water birthing is no more dangerous than other forms of childbirth, and can be significantly less stressful for both mother and child.