5 reasons why I want a water birth
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Water Birth: Why We Chose This Route

I desire to have a natural, un-medicated birth for our son. We also hope to give birth in a birthing tub full of luxurious water.

Since water birth is something that’s not talked about often (at least not in our circle of family and friends), we thought we’d share our reasons on why we desire to have a water birth.

5 reasons why I want a water birth

5 Reasons Why We Want a Water Birth

  1. Reduce pain of contractions. Since we believe that epidurals have a negative effect on the health of both me and our baby, a natural way of coping with pain is a bath full of warm water. When you have aches and pains, do you not just want to soak in a warm bath? The water has the same effect on the pains of contractions.
  2. Reduced risk of episiotomy and tearing. Episiotomies are becoming more and more routine in birth. We believe that the increase in routine episiotomies is a direct result of the rise in epidurals. An epidural leaves the woman unable to feel her baby coming down through the birth canal thus limiting her ability to control the pace at which the baby emerges. By giving birth in water, not only do I still have control over my body, the water also softens the perineum reducing my risk of tearing.
  3. Choose any position I want. In the water, I’m still able to get into any position I desire for birthing. The natural birth position is the squat. However, because of our way of life, many of us are not able to squat for long periods of time. Being in water makes it easier for me to hold this position for much longer periods of time, if I so choose.
  4. Increased ability to relax. One of the keys to a successful natural birth is the woman’s ability to relax completely and give in to each contraction. Tensing during a contraction will only make it hurt worse and can slow down labor. To me, the most relaxing places is a warm tub.
  5. Gentle transition for our baby boy. Our little man has been floating in warm water for nine months. Moving from the birth canal to cold air is probably a bit shocking! This option gives him a smoother transition allowing us to slowly bring him into our environment. Additionally, it slows the cutting of the cord too soon allowing our baby boy to transition from receiving his oxygen from me to breathing on his own.

Now that you know why we want to birth in water, let me tell you about one of the main concerns that we hear over and over from those who are not familiar with water birth.

“Won’t the baby drown?”

You know … we’ve never thought about that…

Ok, I’m being facetious. Seriously though, the baby will not drown.

There are five inhibitory factors involved that keep a baby from sucking in the water upon emerging from the birth canal.

  1. Increase in prostaglandin E2. Twenty-four to forty-eight hours before labor starts, our baby will experience a notable increase in the prostaglandin E2 levels from the placenta which causes a slowing down or stopping of the fetal breathing movements. When he is born and the prostaglandin level is still high, his muscles for breathing simply don’t work, thus engaging the first inhibitory response.
  2. Babies are born experiencing a lack of oxygen. It is a built-in response to the birth process. Hypoxia causes apnea or swallowing, not breathing or gasping. If for some reason the baby is not getting enough oxygen during the labor process, the midwives are there to let us know, and we will move from the tub. They would have us move from the tub in this case because once the baby emerges from the canal due to the fact that he will most likely gasp for air.
  3. There isn’t a huge difference between the temperature of the birthing water and the water the baby is coming from. Therefore, he will not feel the need to gasp for air since it’s so close to what he’s used to. Babies do not breathe until they detect change in temperature.
  4. Water is a hypotonic solution and lung fluids present in our baby is hypertonic. Even if water were to travel in past the larynx, it could not pass into the lungs based on the fact that hypertonic solutions are denser and prevent hypotonic solutions from merging or coming into their presence.
  5. The dive reflex. The larynx is covered all over with taste buds. Surprisingly, the larynx has five times as many taste buds as the whole surface of our tongue. When a liquid hits the back of the throat and crosses the larynx, the taste buds interpret what substance it is and the glottis automatically closes; the liquid is then swallowed, not inhaled.

So, you see … God built reflexes into our newborn allowing him to know exactly when to breathe. He has placed several inhibitory factors in place to ensure that our baby boy only breathes in air. Therefore, we are confident that giving birth in the water is not only safe but ideal for both mother and baby as we make this new transition.

Have you experienced a water birth? Share with me in the comments!

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  1. Hey there 🙂 Sounds great! We’re planning our 5th water birth in June, at a lovely birthing centre here in New Zealand 🙂 Go for it! 🙂

  2. I was born at home in water and 2 years later my brother was born at home and in water as well. I am not pregnant, but I plan on giving birth to my own children the same way. Jist seems so much better for mom and baby.