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The Environment of Birth - Essay Example

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The Environment of Birth

Other professionals declare that water birth is not without its problems and, due to a lack of clear evidence, still believe that there are potential risks involved for the child.
This paper will be critically analysing the environment of water birth in its social context, taking into account the physiology, psychology and spirituality of childbirth. By first considering its historical aspects, the essay will then reflect on recent research that indicate the benefits of water birth for both the mother and the child, the beliefs and opinions of those who fear this approach, recent research and media reports, and finally a brief look at both psychological and spiritual considerations.
Although it has only been relatively recent that the initiatives of using warm-water pools for labour and childbirth have been introduced into Western culture, there are records of women giving birth in shallow sea water in the South Pacific Islands, and also of Egyptian Pharaohs being born in the waters of the Nile. And, throughout the world today, there are many cultures that use water as a medium for birthing, due to the belief that it is a natural environment for child birth (Susanna Napierala pp. 67-74).
In the 1960s, Igor Charkiosky, a Russian researcher, conducted extensive research into both the safety and benefits of water birth. ...
ame period the French obstetrician, Frederick Leboyer, developed the practice of placing new-born babies in warm water, due to the belief that it would help ease transition from the mother's womb to the foreignness of the outside world, and therefore reduce trauma for the new-born child (Frederick Leboyer, pp.52-68).
On the basis of Leboyer's theory, another French obstetrician, Michel Odent, introduced the idea of using a warm-water pool to reduce the mother's pain, and as a way to give a more natural environment for the birthing process. The result of this was the refusal of many labouring women to leave the pool to give birth, due to the benefits that they felt while within water, which led to Odent researching safety aspects of water birth for the child - including potential risks that could possibly result from such an innovate procedure (Frederick Leboyer, pp. 32-39).
By 1983 hundreds of women began to give birth under water as the practice spread across the world, and by 1987 approximately 3000 mothers had experienced water births. In London, at the Garden hospital, Dr. Yehudi Gordon ceased from using pethidine to help with pain relief, and instead introduced warm-water birthing pools. And today, more and more women are choosing the medium of water due to the claims of increased benefits for both mother and baby(Anestesiologia Mexicana en Internet, Online Article, 2007)..

The Claimed Benefits of Water Birth
I never felt anything so relaxing! I felt just like I had slipped into a hot bath during one of my rare alone moments with mommy. Within 15 minutes I was fully dilated and was waiting for the urge to push. I had never felt that sensation with my other two babies and couldn't believe the surging power going through my body. I held on to the side of ...Show more


In 1993, the UK's Department of Health published a report that stated that birthing choices available to women should include that of labouring and/or giving birth under water. As a result of this initiative, more than three-quarters of NHS hospitals have installed birthing pools to provide this option for mother's-to-be…
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The Environment of Birth essay example
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