Why do women choose to give birth in water? For me, the answer is three simple words:
I had my first four on dry land. I had the last 3 in water. I have a very powerful ejection reflex. It is very difficult for me to just breathe the baby out and not have it shoot out of me like a rocket. So I get into the water when I can no longer achieve any type of relaxation during rushes. I know that birth is very close. Once I'm in the water, I can assume any position I want and I can flip over, float, or change positions with ease. I get quite large during pregnancy and movement becomes so difficult near the end.
When the baby begins to descend the birth passage, gravity is NOT my friend. In the water I have the buoyancy of the water supporting my body so I can direct all of my focus and energy on controlling the descent. When I was on land, I was using so much of my strength just assuming a decent position for birth that I had nothing left to resist or control the baby's head trying to split my perineum. (at least that's how it felt) After my water births, my perineum recovered much faster.
Another benefit, which is sort of secondary, is that I can be alone in my birth space and not worry about who will have to come up and catch the baby if I'm not in a position to do it myself. The baby just slips out into the water, then I can get into a position to lift the baby myself. And if I don't want to, someone else is close enough to lift the baby out of the water if that's what I choose.
I don't like to labor in the water. I prefer to do the Bradley type of side-lying or walk around and lean on something during rushes and sort of belly dance my hips. I don't get into the water until I know birth is almost there.
Terri, owner of Generations - Services for Growing Families. Offering doula services, child birth education, fertility counseling, breastfeeding support, lending library, and a helping hand home birth services.