I don't know why I always envisioned my natural births to be in the water. I guess, to me, it seems more comfortable and brings me peace, and that's all I imagined.
With Sofia I labored the WHOLE time in the water, but I did not get to push her in the water because they had to check me right before pushing to make sure it was time (it was) and then I simply did not have time to go back in. This second time, I stayed the whole process, labor and delivery.
However, laboring in the water is where you get most of the benefits of a water birth. Which are so many! 1. It's birthing in a similar environment as the baby is in, which is gentler for the baby. 2. It's less stressful for the mother. It's soothing, comforting and relaxing, helping focus on the birth process, reducing anxiety and fear. 3. It increases the woman's energy in the later stages of labor. 4. It lessens the mothers weight to allow free movement, more easily. 5. It promotes more efficient uterine contractions and improved blood circulation resulting in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, which causes less pain for the mother and more oxygen for the baby. 6. It helps lower high blood pressure that can be caused by anxiety. 7. The water seems to reduce stress-related hormones, allowing the mother’s body to produce endorphins which serve as pain-inhibitors. 8. Water causes the perineum to become more elastic and relaxed, reducing the incidence and severity of tearing. 9. Eases the stress of birth for baby too. Increasing reassurance and security. Of course, a water birth is not for everyone. Even for some people who choose a natural drug free birth, they still prefer to labor and deliver out of the water! Some try it and don't like it. Others swear by it, I am one of those. I cant envision labor without a tub!