Many women report being better able to focus once they get into the water. Doctors and midwives who attend water births find that the mere sound of water pouring into the tub helps some women release whatever inhibitions were slowing the birth, at times so quickly that the birth occurs even before the tub is filled. Oftentimes women climb into the tub to labor and the birth happens before they can get out.
Fewer Episiotomies and Tears
Another benefit of water birth is the elasticity that water imparts to the tissues of the perineum, reducing the incidence and severity of tearing and the need for episiotomies. One doctor reported that in 100 water births he attended, no episiotomies were performed and there were only 29 cases of tearing, all of which were minor surface tears.
Advantages for the Baby
Water offers a familiar comfort after the stress of the birth and mitigates the shock and sensory overload that are so often an inextricable part of birth. Lights and sounds are softer when perceived from under the water, and even the touch of his mother's skin to his own tender skin is softened by the presence of water. The same element, familiar and secure for the baby, is comforting and relaxing for the mother. Together, the mother and baby are profoundly affected by this gentlest of gentle births.