Updated: Nov 19, 2020
From early on in my pregnancy, I was drawn to women’s stories who birthed without pain medication. I was fascinated by the thought of it. I was drawn to the ancestral wisdom that has guided birthing women for centuries. I went on a quest to educate myself as much as possible on generational birthing practices. Many people ask me why I chose a water birth. One birth practice that I was particularly intrigued with was birthing in water. My family and friends will tell you that I LOVE being in water. During my pregnancy my top two sources of comfort were long hot showers and going swimming. When I envisioned my birth plan, I knew that water had to be involved.
There were several resources that encouraged me as I prepared along my pregnancy journey. I have compiled some of my most helpful tips and resources for moms preparing for a water birth.
1. Educate yourself & your support person
Early on in my pregnancy, we decided that my husband would be my primary birthing support person (thankfully we made the decision because I unknowingly would give birth during COVID-19 and only allowed one visitor). I made sure he was just as educated as I was on natural birth so he knew how to properly support me. Relatedly, Doula Dads | A Black Love Series is actually a great web series. There was A LOT of education that I immersed myself in to learn about unmedicated and water birthing. Here are a few that helped the most:
I attended childbirth classes at Ochsner (they are free if you give birth at Ochsner). These classes were extremely useful and helped reduce my anxiety when I was in active labor.
I listened to natural childbirth podcasts as another means of educating myself. One of my favorites was Evidence Based Birth.
2. Surround yourself with positive birth stories and encouragement
I made an intentional effort to primarily ingest positive birth stories. This helped me maintain a positive mindset and reduce fear about the decision to have an unmedicated birth. One of my all-time favorite books that I read while I was pregnant was Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. The first half of the book is filled with tons of empowering birth stories. The second half focuses on the mind/body connection of birth. The book was another resource that helped me build confidence in my decision.
My midwife was a God-send. She believed that I could have the birth I desired even when things got tough and I wanted to quit. While I was in labor she told me two things that helped empower me to see my birth plan through even when I wanted to give up, “listen to your body” and “be brave”.
3. Set the birthing atmosphere
I made a Birthing Playlist on Spotify of songs that I listened to while I was in labor. When things got intense during labor, the music kept the atmosphere peaceful and helped me feel empowered to push through.
4. Pray about it
If you are a woman of faith, talk to God about your birthing desires. I believe that God is faithful to give us the desires of our heart.
From conception, through pregnancy, and into birth - our bodies are amazing! It’s incredible to think that this once tiny life that was growing inside of me is now a little human crawling around the house and exploring the world around him. I hope these tips are helpful to women who may be interested in exploring the option of water birth. It’s totally possible!
Justina lives in Gentilly New Orleans with her husband and son. In her leisure time she enjoys reading, traveling, research, fitness, going to the public library, connecting with new moms, and outdoor nature adventures with her family. You can find her on Instagram at @donovansfirstteacher