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These special insights into Charkovsky's work provided us with a broader understanding about what is possible in the field of water birth. Igor believes the mother's state of mind during pregnancy is of vital importance, so he works with her intensively throughout her pregnancy to eliminate any fear of birth or fear of water she may have.

To achieve these goals Charkovsky instructs pregnant women in meditation and visualization techniques. He has found that women can greatly ease the physical distress of delivery by visualizing their pelvic skeletal area as expanding and opening, so that the baby's journey through the birth canal will be less painful and stressful. Charkovsky also suggests visualizing the fetus inside the womb surrounded by a golden light, during the entire pregnancy.

Charkovsky also uses support groups of women who have already delivered in water, with their children, to provide the mother-to-be with the optimum atmosphere for her birth preparations. Small groups of women, perhaps five or six, often gather to meditate and exercise together.

The exercises involve many yoga postures, including full lotus positions done both in and out of water, and splits, like dancers do, which vigorously exercise the pelvic floor muscles, increasing flexibility and strength. In Moscow I filmed a Russian woman in the ninth month of pregnancy doing full splits as easily and gracefully as a professional dancer. It is truly an amazing sight!

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