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Water birth is the process of giving birth in a pool of warm water. There are a few different ways to experience a water birth. Some women choose to labor in the water and get out for delivery, while others choose to stay in the water throughout the entire labor as well as the delivery.
Why water births?
One theory behind choosing a water birth is to create a similar, comforting environment for the baby, and one that is less stressful for the mother. Since a baby has been in an amniotic fluid sac for about nine months, the transition through water birth is gentler for the baby. Many midwives and a growing number of obstetricians believe that reducing the stress of labor and delivery (through water birth) will reduce fetal complications.
Benefits for Mom
- Warm water (generally between 95 and 100 degrees F) is relaxing and soothes muscles, much like the experience you have when taking a warm shower.
- The effect of water’s buoyancy on a mother lessens the stress of the weight on her body making it easier to move around, encouraging further dilation and labor progression.
- Being immersed in water can help lower high blood pressure caused by anxiety. It also reduces the amount of stress hormones so the body can produce endorphins, which act as pain-inhibitors.
Benefits for Baby
- Water births provide a similar environment for the baby’s transition out of the womb and into the pool.
When is a water birth not ideal?
The following are scenarios in which a water birth may not be the ideal birthing option:
- Breeched babies
- Multiple births
- If preterm labor is expected
- If you have preeclampsia or toxemia
Please consult your healthcare provider to help determine which birthing option is right for you and your baby.
How to Prepare for Water Birth
Interested in learning more about water births?
- Speak to your doctor to decide if a water birth is right for you and your baby.
- Contact your hospital to make sure they welcome parents interested in water birth. WellStar North Fulton Hospital is proud to offer water birth as an option for expectant mothers.
- Check with your insurance company to see if they will reimburse you for any additional costs associated with water births. Some hospitals or birthing centers do not provide birthing pools and you may need to rent or buy one. North Fulton Hospital does have birthing pools available to those mothers who choose water birth as their delivery option.
We invite you to have your water birth with us at WellStar North Fulton Hospital! We offer a class beforehand so you know what to expect when the time comes. For more information on delivering through a water birth at WellStar North Fulton Hospital, register for our water birth class here.