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Will We See a Kardashian Water Birth on E!?? (And What Exactly IS a Water Birth?)

Kourtney Kardashian recently tweeted: “Witnessed a water birth last night with @KhloeKardashian. What an experience! All I can say is WOW!”

Now she wants one of her own.

A friend of hers told Hollywoodlife.com, “Kourtney wants to experience a natural birth with her second child. Now she feels a lot more confident and feels a natural water birth would be one of the most empowering and magical experiences in her life.”

I have no idea if Kourtney will go for it or if it’ll end up on E! but I do know that there are a lot of people wondering what, exactly, a water birth is.

Here’s the deal:

Water birth generally means giving birth in the water but some women labor in the water and then get out to give birth.

It can be hard to imagine a baby being safe under water but keep in mind that the baby is still getting oxygen from the umbilical cord and the baby is used to being in water– babies are “breathing” amniotic fluid throughout pregnancy.

Women choose to labor in water because it really takes the edge off: Water is so effective as pain relief in labor that women giving birth without pain medication often rely on it.  Home births frequently include rented or purchased birth tubs– large, sometimes inflatable, tubs where women can sit or kneel in waist high water.

Birth tubs are also available in most birthing centers– labor wards in or near hospitals that are designed to support a more “natural” birth– and in some hospitals.

Water relieves pain in labor because the buoyancy reduces the pressure of the baby pressing down while the warm water swirling around mom’s uterus softens the muscle and makes it more elastic. Labor is a muscular activity– the uterus is the largest muscle in the human body– so warmth is an excellent way to ease the process. (Ice and cold are better after labor, when you’re sore). The weightlessness also makes it possible for mom to get into some pretty labor-friendly positions  like a  squat or kneeling position where the pelvis is open and the baby’s head is presenting downward and evenly all around the vaginal opening (which can make for an slightly easier or more aerodynamic delivery).

Many are surprised to learn that there is a much lower risk of infection in a home birth (water or not) than at the hospital, where there are ickier strains of bacteria. Water births are more common in Europe, Australia and New Zealand than in the US which tends to have a more medical approach to birth.

The real challenge when it comes to water birthing is that tubs are scarce in hospitals where most women give birth. Since laboring in the tub is so effective for pain relief and so low risk for moms, it would be nice if more hospitals had them!

Here’s what the Mayo Clinic says about water birth. (If mom poops, it’s scooped out with a net!)

Here’s a great video of a water birth where the baby is born in the caul (in the amniotic sac).

Below is a video made by a friend of mine about her NYC home water birth, it’s extremely lovely:

What do you think? Does a water birth sound nice to you?

 

 Ceridwen Morris (CCE) is a certified childbirth educator and the co-author of the pregnancy and baby book, From The Hips. Follow her birth blogging on Facebook.

 

 

Photos: PacificCoastNews.com

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