More than one in 20 women now chooses water birthing in the US, and that number is rising year after year. This practice has been extremely common worldwide for generations, but is only now coming to gain acceptance in Western culture.
At Physicians for Women in Madison, Wisconsin, The Madison Midwives are prepared to help you bring your baby into the world in a stress-free way. We have extensive experience in water birthing, and a large, spacious tub where you can labor and/or deliver. We also keep a beautiful labor room ready at Unity Point Health-Meriter, so you have options during your labor.
Candidates for water birth
Most women are candidates for water birth. Your midwife will discuss this option with you. We primarily want to make sure you’re healthy, that your labor starts between 37 and 41 weeks, and that you and your child don’t have any abnormalities in regard to the pregnancy that could cause undue risk.
If everything looks good, you can sign up for your midwife-attended water birth. Our midwives will help you develop a birth plan, ensure you’re fully informed about all stages of labor and delivery, and find out if you want to labor only, or labor and give birth in the tub. We’ll also discuss the backup plan in case you change your mind at any point or need to be moved for the safety of you and your baby.
Water birth options
Women typically choose one of two paths for their water birth. You can labor and give birth without ever leaving the tub, or you can choose to labor in the comfort of the tub where gravity doesn't fight your body as much, then move to a bed for the final delivery. Both are completely acceptable ways to give birth.
Benefits of water-labor
Studies show water-labor has many benefits. It can:
- Help you relax
- Maintain your body temperature
- Shorten your labor
- Soften your perineum (reducing the risk of a tear by up to 60%)
- Minimize or even eliminate the need for pain medication or an epidural
Water-labor has also been linked to a lessened chance of needing a C-section and lower risk of stress incontinence after delivery.
What happens during your water birth
With a water birth, you can stay relaxed in the tub throughout your entire labor, letting your body do what comes naturally. Birthing in the water lets you move about freely. You’ll be able to shift and float to find a comfortable position. This can be extremely helpful if you’re experiencing back labor.
When your baby is born, your midwife will be by your side, lifting their head gently out of the water as they emerge from the womb into the warm, gentle environment. Studies show that when babies are born into water and raised out of it, they automatically close their mouths and swallow. This closes the airway and prevents them from inhaling water. The baby can be placed immediately on your chest for skin-to-skin time, and cord clamping delayed until you’re ready.
Ready to learn more about water birth? Call our office at 608-218-4835 today, or schedule a consultation using our online booking system.