Water Birth

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July 26, 2010

Water Birth

Karil Daniels (San Francisco, CA), filmmaker. "Gentle childbirth in water."

Sharon Kleyne stresses on her shows that a newborn baby is 75% water and that the transition from prenatal amniotic sac to air is stressful and very dehydrating. The first guest, Karil Daniels, is a documentary filmmaker who strongly supports that view and is particularly interested in water birth.

Karil notes that water is essential to all life on Earth and we must have water in the air in order to absorb the air's oxygen.

To a newborn, according to Karil, water is very nurturing and cushioning. Birth into water involves far less shock and trauma and is an extremely gentle transition. The water birth movement began in Russia in the 1960's and started in the United States in the 1980's. Many US hospitals and birthing centers now offer water birth. It can also be done in the home.

Ms. Daniels has filmed water births in Russia and France and in birthing clinics in the United States.

Prior to giving birth, the mother should drink plenty of water, clean and purify her body and avoid drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Preconception preparedness is the best thing a mother can do for her child.

Water birth is easier on the mothers and the babies don't cry and are not traumatized. However, it was slow to be accepted by the mainstream medical community. Water birth sets the stage for the baby's place in the family and in the community.

The long abandoned practice of slapping the newborn baby to make it cry and therefore breathe was cruel and unnecessary. The best way to stimulate breathing is massage.

There is currently no official certification for water birth practitioners. Most Ob-Gyn's and licensed midwives should be able to do it or can recommend someone.

During the birth process, the mother lies in a specially designed tub. Immediately after the baby comes out, the father immerses it. The umbilicus is not cut until after breathing is established and the afterbirth is delivered. The newborn is then brought up to the mother's chest.

Water birth also alleviates the mother's pain and fear of childbirth. She, too, is much more relaxed which is good for the baby. The baby will therefore be healthier.