Understanding Water Birth and if it's the Right Choice for Your Delivery

Water-birthing is a common practice around the world, and it’s finally being accepted in the United States as a safe, comfortable way for a baby to leave the womb. According to the most recent statistics, around 6% of women in the U.S. chose water-birth as of 2014, and that number is growing.

At Physicians for Women in Madison, Wisconsin, The Madison Midwives have extensive experience in water-birthing, and you can labor and/or deliver in a large, spacious tub. We have access to a beautiful labor room at Unity Point Health-Meriter, to help ensure your safety and that of your baby. 

Different water-birth options

You have two options when it comes to water-birth:

Advantages to water-labor

Laboring in the water has many benefits. Studies show water-labor can help you relax, shorten your labor, soften your perineum, and/or reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication or an epidural. You may also be able to lower your chances of needing a C-section, and have a smaller risk of stress incontinence after you give birth.

Advantages to water-birth 

Birthing in the water can reduce the chances of a perineal tear by up to 60%, allow you to move about freely to find a comfortable position, and let your baby be birthed into a warm, gentle environment. Studies show that a baby born into water and gently lifted out has an automatic, closed mouth swallowing reflex that prevents inhaling of water. You can delay cord clamping if desired, and get immediate skin-to-skin with your baby.

Are you a good candidate for water-birth?

If you are healthy, between 37 and 41 weeks in your pregnancy, your baby doesn’t have any known fetal abnormalities that could put you or your child at risk (like placenta previa, for example), and you want to labor and/or give birth in water, you could be a good candidate for a midwife-attended water-birth.  

If this is your choice, our midwives will sit down with you and develop a solid birth plan that includes laboring in water and/or giving birth in water. We’ll make sure you are fully informed about what to expect, which options are available to you, and how we work to make sure you and your baby are safe and comfortable throughout the experience. We’ll also lay out the safeguards and back-up plan in case you change your mind or the birth doesn’t go as you planned. 

We are particularly attentive to your health and your baby if you are desiring a waterbirth. Certain criteria may exclude you like:

Although many of these conditions can be present, most patients are completely capable of having an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, but not a waterbirth.

Interested in the possibility of water birth in a safe, sterile location with one of our midwives in attendance? Find out more by calling our office at 608-218-4835  today or by scheduling a consultation using our online booking system.

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