There’s benefits for the baby as well. Water births provide an environment similar to the amniotic sac. They also ease the stress of birth, thus increasing reassurance and sense of security for the baby.
Water birth can be especially beneficial for mothers with long and painful labors, those experiencing back pain and those who have difficulty progressing. “Jamie’s Story” on evidencebasedbirth.com was just such a birth. “I went into labor early on my due date with Emrys, my second baby, and arrived at the birth center around noon. My son was in a posterior position, and would be born that way… Being in the tub for labor helped me handle the back labor and move around to help him come down through my pelvis. By birthing in the water I was able to get into a deep squat to push (for around 45 minutes) that I wouldn’t have been able to sustain outside the tub. He was born three hours after we arrived, 8 pounds, 11 ounces.”
Water is an invaluable resource during birth for both the mother and baby. The benefits wash away fears, give mothers comfort and allow babies a slick transition from water inside the womb to water cradled in the comfort of their mothers arms.
How often have you heard people use a “shooshing” or water sound to help soothe a crying baby? That white noise is the water noise they are used to hearing in the womb. As we grow older, we are still calmed by the sounds of water. A rain storm, the ocean, the trickle of a stream, or the sound of the shower. Have you ever heard these sounds while getting a massage? Or have you instantly felt a sense of calm when you hear the ocean? Have you thought about using these sounds while in labor to help calm you? Take some time before you go into labor to find a sound that is soothing to you so you can have it as a tool during your labor. This will probably be soothing to you later as well.