Water births can offer a highly beneficial, birthing alternative for both mother and baby. Although there are a growing number of healthcare facilities and birthing centers now offering this experience, a number of people still don't have an extensive amount of knowledge when it comes to this process.

What Is A Water Birth?

Water birth is a birthing experience that takes place in a warm pool or tub of water. The overall draw to this practice is the fact that it can help limit stress during the birthing process. While in the womb, the baby spends its entire time in a sack of amniotic fluid. The idea is that by having the baby in the water, this creates a similar atmosphere for the child which is thought to minimize shock and be a calmer experience for child and mother.

The duration of a water birth can vary depending upon the goals and needs of the expectant mother. Child birth can be divided into two separate phases; labor and delivery. Some people choose to only spend the labor portion of the process in the water. However, others remain in the water for both the labor and delivery phases. A talk with your midwife can help you determine which option is best for you.


Flexibility. When in the water, the body has a natural buoyancy that makes moving around easier. Given the physical constraints that often come with pregnancy, a water birth can make it easier for the mother change positioning during the delivery process and offer greater comfort.

Perineum Care. The perineum is the space between the vulva and the anus. During the delivery process this area undergoes a great deal of stress and is prone to tearing. Time spent in the water helps promote elasticity of the perineum, which can reduce the risk of tearing and the need for stitches.

Anxiety. Water births are also thought to reduce the anxiety level of the mother, which is critical in terms of keeping the labor process progressive. Water offers a calming experience that can keep the mother more relaxed, both mentally and physically, so that she can focus better.

Risk Factors

Unfortunately, water births aren't for everyone. Woman who are having multiples, have an increased risk for pre-term labor or are having a breech baby are often advised against this practice. Women who have herpes should also avoid a water birth since herpes may transfer in the water.

A water birth should always be conducted under the supervision of a medical professional. If you're considering a water birth, your midwife will be able to discuss the pros and cons as they pertain to your situation to help you make the best choice for both you and baby.