Using Water in Labor and Birth

                                   The birth tub nickname:   The Midwife’s Epidural

                              How water gives comfort in labor –

                                                Reduces pain by: causing mom to have a lower heart rate and blood pressure, lower respiratory rate, lower blood lactic acid levels, a decrease in oxygen consumption, lower muscle tone, lower blood cortisone levels.

                                                 Buoyancy – less weight on sacrum. 

                                                Helps uterine muscle to work more efficiently.  Boosts pain relieving endorphins, lowers stress hormones and relaxes pelvic floor muscles.

                                                Warm water is a subconscious, safe-relaxation place for many women.

                                                A safe place for releasing emotion, especially if she is alone or with partner.




    Birthing in water

                                                   Safety – birth is safe in the water if:

                          Situation is low risk:  mom and baby are doing well.  Mother is not in danger of falling or fainting and has the strength to get out fairly quickly if need be.

                          Water is deep enough for baby’s to emerge underwater, but shallow enough for baby to be able to rest on mom’s chest (just below bottom of breasts level), brought up out of the water in one swoop.  Not brought up then back down (dipping in and out).

                           Water can be kept warm and at an even temperature.  (98.0 to 100.00 degrees)  Water is clean enough to see to the bottom.  Lighting is available if needed.

                           Labor is moving slow enough to control pushing.

                           No concerns about severe tearing or hemorrhage.

                           Care-giver is feeling safe about tub access to help you or baby.



                        Freedom of movement and deep concentration

                        Gives mom more feeling of control

                        Emotionally relaxing, to keep labor going well.

                        Keeps mom warm.  Keeps baby warm after birth.

                        Gentle way to birth baby




                       Harder to control and measure hemorrhage, (if mom does so),  Short cord is a problem – struggle to get out (with baby attached), if baby or mom is needing extra help.  For instance, if baby gets stuck, then it can be a harder angle for care-giver to help. 



www.yourwaterbirth.com  –  This site has a blog that you can ask questions and read stories on.  A great place to start your research.

www.waterbirthsolutions.com –  Lavender And Roses, Birth and Mothering Center, our new birth center in Libby, Montana, purchased a birth tub called the Lily.  It is a soaker tub, with beautiful lighting and a water heater to keep the temperature constant.  We LOVE IT!

They also have a lot of good resources to go along with your water birth plans.