Waterbirth is pretty much one of my favorite things to talk about. I strongly believe that it should be an option for every woman to have a waterbirth. Currently in Lethbridge, the only way to have a waterbirth is to have it at home. There are no registered midwives and no dr.’s currently helping with waterbirths. There have been some cases though where the mama just didn’t get out of the tub at the hospital, more of an oops I guess.
In 1977 an obstetrician in France (Dr. Michel Odent) introduced the idea of a home like birthing setting in the hospital, along with birthing pools. By the 80s, waterbirth had spread all across Europe and made it’s way to America. Even though it’s been 30+ years of active waterbirthing (in hospital) the idea is still completely new and foreign to many people living in Southern Alberta and specifically Lethbridge.
I would like to see that change. After the waterbirth of my 3rd baby I can attest to the many benefits from birthing in water. Here are a few of the many benefits:
- pain management
- comfort and ability to move/change positions – it’s not easy on land to flip from front to back to side to knees, but in the water it’s easy peasy.
- reduction of pressure on the abdomen (bouyancy)
- easier transition for baby – waterbirth is such a gentle way for baby to enter the world, no bright lights, no cold air, no instant suctioning…. just nice warm water.
- helps minimize tearing
- fewer interventions
With my first waterbirth, my baby came out and was calmer than any other baby I have ever seen! He was so peaceful and I felt great. You see, waterbirth creates a different result. Babies don’t come out screaming, it’s so amazing to see them so calm. After that experience (my 3rd), I knew that I would have any future babies that way and that I would also advocate for women to be able to have waterbirths in the hospital. It should be an option for everyone, not just those who travel or pay for a local lay-midwife or TBA.
If you would like more information about the use of water during labour and birth, please feel free to contact me. There is also a great organization and website that is definitely worth checking out, Waterbirth International.