Water Birthing

Water Birthing Offers a More Relaxing, Comfortable Labor and Birth Experience

Many women with low-risk pregnancies meet the criteria for water birth, also known as hydrotherapy. In the U.S., a growing number of these women are using water to find comfort during labor. Laboring in a tub of warm water helps many women feel physically supported, warm, relaxed and comfortable. It also creates a more soothing environment for the baby as it enters the world.

At University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital’s Division of Nurse-Midwifery, our midwives are qualified to attend water births by Waterbirth International, the water birth credentialing and advocacy organization.

Expectant mothers may choose hydrotherapy during labor and then give birth in a more traditional setting, or remain in water for delivery. Our Nurse-Midwives work to ensure that the hydrotherapy experience is nurturing, relaxing and positive.

How Water Birthing Benefits the Baby

Proponents of water birthing believe that this method offers a gentler, safer alternative to traditional delivery. Because the warm water offers an environment similar to the amniotic sac, the delivery should be more comfortable and less stressful for the baby.

Reduced Pain for Expectant Mothers

Among its many benefits, a water birth helps reduce the mother’s level of pain. This is achieved, in part, because:

  • Water makes the mother feel more weightless, which enables her to move more easily
  • Buoyancy allows for more efficient contractions and blood circulations, which leads to reduced pain for the mother and more oxygen for the baby
  • Water helps alleviate the physical symptoms of stress, including high blood pressure and stress-related hormones
  • Water helps relax muscles, which can mean less tearing and a reduced need for stitches

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