Laboring in a pool of warm water has sometimes been referred to as the "midwife's epidural." Many women experience profound benefits of laboring in water, including a reduction in sensation of pain as well as an increase in feelings of peace and relaxation. Advocates feel it is a very gentle way to birth and to welcome a new baby. One of the pioneers of the use of hydrotherapy during labor is Barbara Harper, the author of the classic book Gentle Birth Choices. One of the extra cool things about this book is that it comes with a DVD of the video Gentle Birth Choices. This video is a favorite of childbirth educators and pregnant women. The video has a lot of interview clips and information about different birth issues and less actual birth content than some may like, but it is a good resource and also makes a good video for use in an educational presentation. I like good bargains, so I love getting extra value for my dollar and getting both a book and DVD for the price of one!
This book is an empowering resource for women who want to take the "reins" of their birth experiences and make their own, informed decisions.
Other good books about waterbirth include The Waterbirth Book by Janet Balaskas, reviewed here previously and the older, but still useful and interesting, Water Birth by Susanna Napierala.
We've long valued the work of Waterbirth International and the support and resources it has offered to families planning waterbirths. Now, the organization is facing financial hardship that threatens imminent closure. For more information about making a donation to keep Waterbirth International alive for the women and babies who need click here.