Water birth has become a popular choice for home birth parents. It has been a great pleasure to assist with water births at home.
Laboring in the water gives the mother tremendous physical relief while promoting emotional calmness and mental clarity. I’ve observed women enter a tub of warm water during active labor, and I’ve watched their muscles relax, eyes close, and breathing deepen.
Birth partners can also enter the pool to provide massage and close physical contact. During the pushing phase of labor, women often stay in this soft state and gently push their babies out. The warmth of the water brings circulation to the perineum, minimizing the probability of perineal tears. Most babies will birth spontaneously, and the mother or her partner can bring the baby up out of the water.
Many babies are calmed by the warm water, a familiar environment for them. Usually, mothers can stay in the tub with their babies to begin breastfeeding, and the placenta can be delivered in the pool. Decades ago, Dr. Leboyer recognized the power of water to ease the newborn’s transition to the extra-uterine environment. The Leboyer bath can be provided to a newborn after any type of birth.
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