Water Birth: From Legend to Modern

water birth

In the book “Water Birth,” author Janet Balaskas tells of folklore about women in the Pacific Islands birthing in the sea. Archeologist Marie Parsons explains that during labor in ancient Egypt, basins of hot, steaming water were placed below a birthing chair in order to ease delivery, and others have interpreted Egyptian hieroglyphs to depict actual births in water. It is believed that water births have been practiced for ages; however, the earliest one in written record was from France, over two-hundred years ago, when a mother-to-be was moved from her bed to a bath in order to comfort her during a terribly long and arduous labor. The water seemed to gently speed delivery, alleviate the mother’s discomfort, and present a happy infant. This intriguing event inspired a two-century exploration of birth and water.

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When speaking of water birth and its history, it is impossible not to mention Igor Tjarkovsky, a pioneer of water birth research. After the first known documented water birth in the 1800’s, very little research was recorded. Tjarkovsky was the one who helped push water birth study in the 1960’s. It was already a popular practice in many countries around the world, and because of Tjarkovsky’s examinations, many doctors and water birth enthusiasts have strived to make this a viable method here in the United States, and their endeavors have worked. Since the 1980’s, water birthing centers have emerged all over the country and are staffed with midwives trained in water birthing. Most hospitals are now equipped to cater to this approach as well, and you can even purchase your very own pool to use for delivering in your own home.

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Water Birth: From Legend to Modern

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25 comments

  1. angel says:

    I would love to do a water birth . Something I have always thought about it. Sounds relaxing and different .

  2. LIZ says:

    i wish i did this sounds very relaxing

  3. Stacy says:

    I had done the water birth when I delivered my daughter. It was very relaxing which made it very easy to deliver without pain meds. I would recommend this method for anyone who wants to have a natural birth and would like something to help them relax. I will definitely be using this method again for any future children my husband and I have.

  4. Sandra says:

    Having a water baby sounds interesting, but I myself wouldn’t have one do to the fact that when I am in labor water does not help me with my pain. But it sounds like a good options for mothers who would like to enjoy a new experience in giving birth.

  5. I would do a water birth if they offered it here where i live

  6. summer says:

    I am just beginning research on this but would like to know if this is an option for delivering twins. I like my midwife much more than I do the bedside manner of ANY of the doctors I’ve met that are in the same office as my midwife.

  7. Dottie says:

    I would love to do this but my fiance is too afraid to let me try it. He is very worried.

  8. Nina says:

    i AM THINING ON THIS FOR BABY #2

  9. Kat says:

    I wish my hospital did water births.. living on a small army post an 2 hour drive to a hospital isn’t an option sadly

  10. Phammom says:

    Considering one for our second child. If the room I’m in happens to have a tub instead of a shower I may just do it this time.

  11. Layne says:

    I’m hoping to have a water birth.

  12. Bree says:

    i would love to have a water birth…

  13. Dario says:

    As a guy I say hospital room..

  14. This is definately not an option for me but it good that it is an option for those that want to do it.

  15. Grace says:

    i would love a water birth but have yet to ever find a hospital that caters to it. i have given birth in 3 different states/3 different hospitals NONE had water birth as an option and ALL did not have ANY place nearby/any centers where you could do waterbirth.

    • Kristin says:

      That’s very odd, the hospital where I had my first child said they accomadate waterbirth. Amongst my recent hospital searching I have found a couple others that do. For 3 different states to not have that option for a mother is crazy!

  16. Hope says:

    I had a water birth with my daughter (first child) and it was wonderful! I had a homebirth assisted by a midwife, with no drugs at all, and gave birth in the water. Some places like hospitals only let you sit in a tub during the beginning of labor. I was in labor technically for 2 1//2 hours with 20 minutes of pushing. I had no tears (I did perineum stretches also) and my fiance (baby’s father) caught her!

  17. verochka31 says:

    mine labors are c-sections, but know women who had water labor and loved it!!

  18. PrettyBoogs says:

    I would like to know more about what women have to say about this that have had it done. How nice would it be for a Question and Answer segment sometime on different topic??

  19. Ada says:

    Anyone had water birth before? Please how was it?

  20. Jeanetta says:

    I wanted to have a water birth, but none of the hospital’s here do that… The hospital I had my baby at does have a labor tub, but I was induced so I missed out on that too.

  21. Melody says:

    I’d love to try it for my next one!

  22. Amanda Beall says:

    I am excited to have my first child using water birth! <3

  23. Jeanetta says:

    I wanted to have a water birth, but none of the hospital’s here do that… The hospital I had my baby at does have a labor tub, but I was induced so I missed out on that too.

  24. PrettyBoogs says:

    Water birth is something I am considering in this pregnancy.

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