from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A form of childbirth in which the mother is supported in a birthing pool so that the child is delivered into the warm water.


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  • Water birth is a method of giving birth, which involves immersion in warm water. Proponents believe this method to be safe and provides many benefits for both mother and infant, including pain relief and a less traumatic birth experience for the baby.

    In the late 1960s, French obstetrician Frederick Leboyer (see Leboyer Method)developed the practice of immersing newly-born infants in warm water to help ease the transition from the womb to the outside world, and to mitigate the effects of any possible birth trauma.

    Another French obstetrician, Michel Odent, took Leboyer's work further, using the warm-water birth pool for pain relief for the mother, and as a way to normalize the birth process. When some women refused to get out of the water to finish giving birth, Odent started researching the possible benefits for the baby of being born under water, as well as the potential problems in such births. By the late 1990s, thousands of women had given birth at Odent's birthing center at Pithiviers, and the notion of water birth had spread to many other Western countries.


    February 4, 2008