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What Does Gentle Birth Feel Like?

Imagine then, a gentle introduction to the world by being born in water. Warm fluid is the element most familiar and comfortable to the fragile infant, so he or she does not experience fear or pain when coming in contact with it.

The room is semi-dark, to avoid a shock to the baby's eyes, and quiet, except for some soothing music. Mother is in the warm tub feeling relieved, her weight supported by the water. The comfort of the bath relaxes her tension and eases her labor pains, while providing the freedom to move into whatever position is most comfortable.

Water is such an effective painkiller that only about 10% of women who enter the tub during labor request painkilling drugs. Father may also be in the tub, holding or massaging mother. Ideally, the midwife, nurse or doctor waits patiently nearby, offering the mother encouragement and support whenever it is needed. Together they wait for the baby to emerge.

SPECIAL NOTE regarding tubs

The issue of jets in tubs is controversial. I have spoken to a tub maker who believes that the whirlpool style tubs that have internal pipes (which produce pulsating water jets) are the wrong choice for waterbirth because, he states, the internal pipes cannot be reached to be adequately cleaned. However, others believe that you can safely use a tub with jets if you run a course of cleansing for the jet piping inside the tub before and after the birth. To cleanse, fill the tub with hot water, add a mild bleach or other anti-bacterial solution to the water, then run the jets full-force for 15 minutes. This opinion sees the piping as an extension of the tub, just that it is concealed, and once you run the cleansing cycle, by firing up the jets with the cleaning solution, everything is expelled through the system in a constantly moving cycle. After cleaning, empty the tub, add regular tap water and turn the jets on to give the internal pipes a rinse cycle to remove any trace of the bleach. It is advisable to do this right before you fill the tub for the labor and birth. After the baby is born, follow the same routine to clean up.

These are both sides of the argument. I suggest you consider and research each one further as you review your choices for tub use or purchase.

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