How someone labors and delivers their baby is a personal and honorable choice, regardless of location, environment, and methods. All births are remarkable, and every circumstance is unique. But are water births less painful for mothers, or is this just a trend? We explore water births in more depth and offer insight into why some individuals choose this method over others.
What Is a Water Birth?
A water birth is a vaginal delivery method that takes place without the use of other pain management and medical provisions. A laboring individual will use a warm birth pool to labor through contractions and go on to deliver their baby in the water. The temperature of the water plays a role in effective relaxation techniques to allow birthing individuals the time and space to deliver on their terms.
It’s essential to note that a water birth requires an informed decision and consent between the expecting family and the overseeing care team.
Why People Choose Water Birth
Choosing a water birth comes with an understanding that a person will oversee the labor and delivery with less intervention than a typical hospital delivery method. Individuals who choose water birth look forward to a relaxing environment where they will be coached by midwives, doulas, and support partners. They understand that they will likely deliver their baby in the water, receiving them in their hands.
Some pregnant people only labor in the birth pool and deliver on a bed. Using a birth pool for labor only is known as hydrotherapy and offers support through contractions.
Benefits of Water Birth
As mentioned above, a primary benefit and a significant reason pregnant individuals choose a water birth is to improve relaxation. The water in a birthing pool hovers around 100 degrees Fahrenheit and creates a seamlessly soothing environment for a laboring individual to ease through each contraction. When contractions are more manageable, labor times decrease, and deliveries are calmer.
Smooth labor and a calm environment aid in ideal birth outcomes, reducing the risks of post-traumatic stress disorders or postpartum mental illnesses. Additionally, the laboring positions in the warm waters allow for an easier delivery approach for both the mother and baby.
It’s worth noting that water births are ideal for low-risk pregnancies, pregnancies of single babies, and pregnancies that reach full-term gestation (37 weeks or more). Partner with your provider to understand your personal circumstances.
Supplies Necessary for Water Birth
The overseeing midwife or doula can support a water birth by offering guidance on typical and necessary supplies. The most essential item is a birth pool in a box. This is where the magic happens, and labor and possibly delivery will occur. These are sterile environments intended for birth and should not be used for other purposes. The following is a brief list of accompanying supplies you may need:
- Urinary pads
- Placenta bowl and bag
- Debris net
Cascade’s Water Birth Solutions
So, are water births less painful for mothers? Those that choose and successfully deliver their babies in water tend to agree they are less painful. Here at Cascade Health Care, we support and honor all birth decisions and outcomes. We offer a comprehensive selection of water birth supplies to ensure those who choose a water birth can prepare adequately.