Almost everyone who hears about the wonders of water birth draws the same conclusion: "It certainly makes sense."
For the mother, the advantages of this type of birth include:
- Greater Relaxation
- Less Stress
- Greater Concentration
- Fewer Episiotomies and Tears
- Advantages for the Baby
When a woman in labor relaxes in a warm tub, free from gravity's pull on her body, with sensory stimulation reduced, her body is less likely to secrete stress-related hormones. This allows her body to produce the pain inhibitors -- endorphins -- that complement labor.
A laboring woman who is able to relax physically is able to relax mentally as well. Many women, midwives and doctors acknowledge the analgesic effect of water.
Women achieve a level of comfort in water that in turn reduces their levels of fear and stress. Women's perception of pain is greatly influenced by their level of anxiety. When labor becomes physically easier, a woman’s ability to concentrate calmly is improved and she is able to focus inward on the birth processes. Water helps some women reach a state of consciousness in which their fear and resistance are diminished or removed completely; their bodies then relax, and their babies are born in the easiest way possible.