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What is water birth?

Water birth is the actual process of giving birth to your baby while submerged in a pool of warm water. Using water immersion is an excellent way to improve comfort and relaxation during labor and birth. It can be safe and beneficial to both mom and baby for baby to be born in the pool of warm water. The buoyancy and warmth are a help to the mom in labor and facilitate position changes and relaxation. We sometimes call the labor and birth tub the “midwife’s epidural” because it can facilitate relaxation so well (it does not take the pain completely away like an epidural, but does help).

According to Waterbirth International, the benefits of waterbirth are as follows:

  • Water facilitates mobility and enables the mother to assume any position that is comfortable for labor and birth
  • Speeds up labor
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Gives mother feelings of control
  • Provides significant pain relief
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Conserves mother’s energy
  • Reduces the need for drugs and interventions
  • Gives the mother a private protected space
  • Reduces perineal trauma and eliminates episiotomies
  • Reduces cesarean section rates
  • Is highly rated by mothers – typically stating they would consider giving birth in water again; some even stating they would never give birth any other way!
  • Is highly rated by experienced providers
  • Encourages an easier birth for mother and a gentler welcome for baby

Is water birth safe?

Water birth is safe because there are at least four mechanisms in place that make it so the baby doesn’t breathe under the water until his or her face encounters the air when brought to the surface of the pool. These mechanisms have to be in place because the baby spends its’ whole life up to the point of birth floating in water – the amniotic fluid. That’s why waterbirth is also thought of as a more gentle transition for the baby – they come from a fluid into fluid before they have to feel the air and breathe for the first time.

For more information on waterbirth:

Waterbirth International
Evidence Based Birth article on Water Birth

Is waterbirth an option at my birth?

At the birth center – Yes! We have built-in tubs designed specifically for the comfort and safety of laboring and giving birth. The accompanying hand shower allows for use of water in multiple ways for comfort – soak in the deep tub and be able to use the spray of water on areas that need a bit of extra pressure as needed. Active Birth Pools has been building birth tubs since 1987 and has perfected them in their Venus Birth Pool. See our gorgeous tubs here and here.

How much experience do you have with water birth?

Our nurse-midwives have taken a waterbirth certification course through Waterbirth International. We have collectively attended hundreds of water births, without a single poor outcome. Jolene, our founding nurse-midwife, and Chelsea, our registered nurse have each had two water births themselves (Chelsea’s water births were also her second and third VBAC births).  Both Jolene and Chelsea can be counted among women who would refuse to give birth any other way since having a water birth.

How is the tub set up?

At the Birth Center – The tub will be filled by staff as you need it. Our water heating system is designed specifically to fill the deep and spacious tubs with warm water for as long and as often and you desire. Our staff will drain and clean the tubs between each use with procedures that ensure antisepsis.


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