It has yet to gain widespread acceptance as a complementary and alternative addition to the birthing process. This paper shall explore the aspect of using water in the first stage of labor and in the actual delivery itself. It shall also explore the ethical, legal and professional issues surrounding this process. It shall use current and relevant knowledge about this topic drawn from a range of sources related to the midwifery practice in general.
The benefit of water births have been an accidental discovery when, in the 1800s, a French woman who was exhausted after 48 hours of labor, climbed into warm bath to relax and subsequently gave birth to her child in the water (Church, 1989, as cited in Pairman, et.al., 2006, p. 430). Such a method of birthing was rarely explored and discussed in the next 150 years until Igor Tzarkovsky expressed and renewed interest in this method. In the 1970s, other enthusiasts expressed their support for water births when they called attention to how water births helped to heal and bring peace, quiet, and gentleness to the baby during delivery. Practitioners also noted how women were more relaxed in the water during their labor and their delivery. The interest in this method of birthing gained momentum in the 1980s as more women explored and opted for this method during their deliveries. Many medical centres, hospitals, and practitioners have now set up operations for this method of birthing (Pairman, et.al., 2006, pp 430-431). Midwives, nurses, and obstetricians have also come to integrate this method into their practice. And midwives, most especially, are often being called into pregnant women’s homes in order to assist patients to undertake this method of birthing.
Waterbirth is basically the process of giving birth in a tub of warm water (American Pregnancy Association, 2007). In some instances, women choose to labour in the water and to get out of the water once they are ready to .deliver. . Other women choose to undertake the entire labour and birthing process in the water. .