A full bathtub of warm water is often referred to as a “midwife’s epidural.” Birthing your baby in water is a wonderful, natural way to ease tension and soothe pain. Most mothers choose to have a warm tub available during labor — and more than half of them experience a water birth.
Why choose a water birth and is it safe?
Water birth is a safe, gentle and drug-free way for your baby to enter the world. Your baby easily transitions from your internal warm amniotic fluid to the familiar warm water of the tub before gently reaching the surface, where he or she is instantly supported by your loving hands.
Your baby’s ‘dive reflex’ will prevent him or her from inhaling water during the short transition from the water to the air. Contact with the air is often a stimulus for taking the first breath, while the body stays warm and supported within the water.
Water-born babies have good muscle tone and respiration, just like babies born into air. Some newborns even love to float and stretch out in the water with mother’s help, creating a powerful bonding moment for both.
What else should I know about a water birth
Your midwife will be very experienced with water birth. Some mothers choose to labor in the tub and then birth on the bed, while others actually labor and give birth in the water.
- We use a special under-water Doppler to listen to the baby’s heart rate without disrupting you.
- Salt and essential oils may be added as desired.
- You can wear a bra, swimsuit top or t-shirt. Many mothers feel most comfortable wearing nothing.
- After the baby is born, if there is no excessive bleeding, you may stay in the tub for up to 20 minutes or so while waiting for the placenta, which can easily be delivered in the water.
Experience a water birth
at the birth center or at home
At the birth center:
- We have two birth rooms, each with its own private birthing tub.
- Birth tubs are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after every use.
For a home birth:
- We offer portable, rental birthing tubs that come with clean, disposable tub liners.
- Some couples purchase their own birthing tub.