It is true that very few women will have a waterbirth for one baby and then choose a land birth for the subsequent baby, however many women will have a land birth with one baby and then opt for a waterbirth the next time. Occasionally a woman will choose a homebirth specifically so that she can experience a waterbirth, perhaps because her local hospital cannot support her in this.
Waterbirth is an effective way for a woman to manage the sensations of labour.
Waterbirth often results in fewer perineal tears because the water has a softening effect on the perineum.
Waterbirth also helps a woman to be more active in her labour and birth because it helps with a sensation of weighlessness.
Babies who are born in water are often calmer than babies who are born on land.
Because warm water promotes good circulation and oxygenation to the uterine muscles, a baby is less likely to suffer from a lack of oxygen which can lead to fetal distress.
Labouring in water has also been shown to lower a woman’s blood pressure and assist with dilation of the cervix in a labour that is considered to be “slow”.
In my practice, about 50% women birth their babies in water.
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