Waterbirth has been called the "midwife's epidural" due to it's amazing ability to decrease pain during labor and birth. In recent years though, many people have questioned it's safety. While widely practiced at home births and birth center births, some hospitals have pulled the option from their facilities while more research was done on the topic.
According to new research from the University of Oregon, "Babies born underwater face no more risks than babies born in other types of midwife-led births."
The study was published by the Journal of Midwifery and Woman's Health and looked at the outcomes of 18,000 births, including over 6,000 waterbirths.
“The study found that babies born underwater performed just as well in tests of their respiration, activity, and pulse in the first few minutes of life. The authors also found no increase in neonatal deaths or hospital admissions for the group born underwater.”
As a birth photographer, I’ve had the honor of photographing dozens of water births and then talking to women about their experiences afterwards. Many of them have told me that once they gave birth in the water…they’d never want to do it on land. I gave birth to my first daughter in a hospital, on a bed, and I look forward to trying a waterbirth with my second.
*While water birth seems to be an amazing option for many women, midwives and doctors agree that water birth is not suitable for high-risk births.
If you've had a waterbirth, we'd love to hear about your experience in the comments.
Images taken at homes across Colorado, as well the Birth Center of Boulder, Mountain Midwifery Center, and Baby + Co. All images are the property of Monet Nicole - Birthing Stories.