Humans have used the soothing properties of warm water for centuries. Floating in warm water eases pain, creates buoyancy and freedom of movement, decreases anxiety, and assists in muscle relaxation. European countries have long capitalized on these soothing properties for women in labor. European studies have shown a lower use of pain medication, decreased need for medicines to stimulate labor, decreased perception of pain, and high patient satisfaction, among other benefits, during labor and delivery in a birth tub. Women in the United States are now asking for this option as part of their labor and birth care.
Waterbirth is part of a philosophy of care that includes continuous labor support, involvement of the woman's supportive family and/or friends; freedom of movement and positioning during labor and birth, non-intervention when labor and birth are unfolding normally; and creation of a safe, calm, and supportive environment in which labor and birth can occur .
If you are interested in waterbirth, you can get more information from Waterbirth International at www.waterbirth.org or ask your midwife or physician.
Waterbirth is available at all Legacy Family Birth Centers and through LMG-Midwifery at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.