The gentleness of water birth
Babies born into water without medical intervention have better Apgar scores than babies born on land
Jan 4, 2017
After giving birth via Caesarean section eight years ago, I knew I wanted something different for the coming of my second child. From conception onwards, I planned everything meticulously, almost obsessively. My research led me to do a home water birth, a VBAC or vaginal birth after a Caesarean birth. Through my readings, I found that it is no longer believed that once a C-section, always a C-section. In fact, the New York Times stated that there has been a medical shift in opinion. The National Institutes of Health found that a VBAC is safer to do than a repeat Caesarean. Also, a VBAC with more than one repeat Caesarean does not pose any risks.
The relaxing effect of water, with its support and warmth, helped alleviate my pain during labor. It also gave me a private and protected space with less medical intervention. In my research, it is found that babies born into water without medical intervention have good, even better, Apgar scores than babies born on land. They come out very calm, awake, and alert. Psychologists also state that when babies are born peacefully, they are most likely to become compassionate adults. Because of the holistic experience, mothers who have had water births want to experience this kind of delivery again.
For my water birth, I chose to do it at home. CNN Hero of the Year 2011, midwife, and author Ibu Robin Lim mentored me on this process. It seemed natural for my baby to leave my womb and swim out into warm waters before emerging to our physical world. I was free to move into positions led by my own body. I did not cut her umbilical cord until it fell off on its own after the third day. This process allowed my baby to receive all the blood and stem cells she needed. Lotus birth, it is called—truly the most gentle birth I can give.
This story was originally published in Northern Living, May 2015.