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What Women Say About Childbirth

In researching this newest form of safe, gentle, joyous birth for the award winning video documentary WATER BABY: Experiences of Water Birth, I interviewed hundreds of women about their birth experiences. I found that a large percentage of those who had delivered in hospitals were angry, alienated and felt cheated, for a variety of reasons. But none of those reactions were true for any of the water birth mothers.

Because warm water is so soothing, it comforts the woman and helps her cooperate with her own body, so that she can open up more easily and have a natural and relatively pain free birth. Since over 90% of water birth mothers use no drugs, they deliver while awake, aware and in control of the process, a joyous, empowering experience that stays with them forever.

Water's Great Gift: Pain Relief

When a woman experiences intense pain or fear during labor or delivery, her body involuntarily tightens up and pulls inward - an automatic, self-protective response. Yet, birth requires the exact opposite - an expansion and release. Since these two conditions are mutually exclusive, the fearful mother's body may be unable to progress to full dilation and her labor may go one for many, many hours as her body tries in vain to both close up in fear and open to release the baby simultaneously.

In this situation the benefit of warm water may be most valuable, because the comfort it provides helps the mother to relax very deeply and assists her body in stretching slowly and gently to accommodate the baby's emergence, usually without tearing.

It is because of this deep relaxation that water labor and/or waterbirth often functions as an effective and important cesarean prevention method.

Without exception, the water birth mothers I interviewed all spoke of easier and/or quicker labors, profound relaxation, alleviation of pain and the excitement and empowerment they felt being in total connection to the process of birth and to the baby. Women who deliver in water evidently feel a strong affinity to their own female power and to the experience of motherhood.

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