When a woman is having menstrual cramps, it is a comfort to take a shower or soak in the tub for a while. When we’ve had a bad day, or our bodies are tired, we long for a nice warm shower or a deep bath. Water is comforting, healing and calming. In labor, water serves the same purpose- to relax, ease sore, tired muscles and to soothe. As our bodies are mostly water, as we are formed in water, as we need water to nourish our cells, there is a natural automatic response when a laboring woman steps into a tub.
There is almost instant relief as she becomes buoyant, almost weightless. Her strains and tugs are a bit more tolerable in the water. The counter pressure of the water on her back, uterus and perineum support her in a way that is impossible on land. She can sink into the water, close her eyes and feel her baby’s birth with a little more concentration on the exit strategy than when she is fighting gravity. As the baby emerges and is gently born of his mother, he is still in a liquid environment that is protective and secure in the transition from within the womb to his mother’s breast.
While this transition doesn’t take very long, it seems to lend itself to ease rather than shock. The newborn will take a breath only when he is exposed to the air, therefore he will not get water into his lungs. Babies born in the water usually take a moment to check things out before letting out the wail of life. And there is a sense of calm that hushes the room. Learn more here.