What is the history of water birth?
When was it started?
Why have your baby in water?
I suspect that water birth has been around for a lot longer than we’ve been keeping track of it. The first recorded waterbirth happened in 1803 (in France). But water birth first came into the public light in the 1960’s in Soviet Russia. There has been a strong tradition of water birth in Russia since that time.
Other doctors in Europe, such as Michel Odent, began researching water birth options for women. The practice came to the United States mostly through couples giving birth at home. It’s now being offered in many freestanding birth centers and increasingly in hospitals.
Tubs for use during labor (though not delivery) are gaining even more popularity in US hospitals.
There are many advantages to water birth.
- Water gently supports the mother’s body as she labors and provides proven pain relief.
- This gentle support also helps the mother’s tissues to stretch without tearing as the baby is born.
- Few chances for internal exams
- Special space for mom
- Easy to change positions, feel for baby, catch baby, etc.
- Water birth is gentle on babies, who go from the womb into warm water, then up to their mother’s chests.
Even if you don’t birth in water, laboring in water has great benefits.
Water birth is also very safe. Water temperatures should be kept comfortable for the mother and the baby brought up soon after birth. Babies born in water have a strong flow of cord blood and may show increased oxygen levels over land-born babies.
I’ve had two “land births” and four “water births” – all drug free. The water births were much easier births for me. Plus I felt much better after the births. Less soreness and fatigue overall.
Be sure to read my entire water birth article.
You can also read my four water birth stories:
Check out the rest of the Birth Stories page – there are lots of water birth stories!