Keep Oregon Natural! How to Have a Portland Water Birth


Portland Water Birth: The Benefits 

Water Birth is the process of laboring and giving birth in a tub of warm water. Some people choose to labor in the water birth tub and then get out when the baby is close to the being born. Other people choose to labor in the water birth tub and stay in the tub for the birth of the baby. A true waterbirth is one in which the baby is born in the water in the water birth tub. The baby is brought to the surface of the water after they are born. 

In Portland, water birth has become increasingly popular as people learn about the positive benefits of laboring naturally (without medication) using the soothing properties of water. Many women feel that birthing in a tub of water is gentle for them and also allows a gentle beginning for their baby, who has been growing in amniotic fluid during the pregnancy. 

The benefits to finding a provider in Portland who does water birth include: 

  • Soothing, comforting and relaxation of the water 

  • In an unmedicated birth, water birth acts as a pain remediation technique and helps people to cope more effectively with their contractions 

  • Buoyancy of the water allows for freedom of movement and position changes 

  • Immersion in water can help to relieve anxiety and promote a feeling of calm 

  • The water can help to keep stress hormones low and oxytocin high, which allows the birth to unfold smoothly 

  • Counterpressure from the water on the perineum and lower back are relieving to the mom during the pushing stage 

  • Water birth promotes a sense of privacy and safety that can help some women to labor and birth more easily. For some women, feeling exposed and vulnerable is a major inhibitor to labor progression

Should I Have a Portland Water Birth

Each birthing person can decide for themselves if water birth is right for them. A provider should always answer your questions regarding water birth and take the time to discuss the benefits and risks of water birth in your particular situation. In our practice, we offer water birth to many of our clients because they are low-risk, healthy, and interested in having a water birth in Portland. We may occasionally request that someone does not have a water birth because of particular risk factors, and we always let them know ahead of time that we may ask them to get out of the water birth tub if we need to protect safety. Generally, in our practice in Portland, water birth occurs without any need for intervention, and women report that it feels great! 

Is Water Birth safe for the baby? 

Babies do not normally inhale until they are exposed to air, so until the baby’s cheeks hit the open air once they are raised out of the tub, they will not try to take a breath. While they are under the water, they are receiving oxygen through the umbilical cord, which is still attached to the placenta in the mother’s uterus. 

Can I rent a tub for Portland Water Birth? 

You can! People in our care in Portland and Hood River rent our birth tubs for a fee. Many of our clients plan to labor and birth in the tub, and we are very comfortable supporting people in having a water birth in Portland, Hood River, and anywhere in between. 

Benefits to having a Portland Water Birth with Hearth and Home Midwifery

  • We have years of waterbirth experience and roughly 50% of our babies are born in the water 

  • We are family-friendly and encourage the partner’s involvement in the birth (they can even get in the water birth tub and help to catch the baby, if you both want that!) 

  • We practice intermittent fetal monitoring during water birth, which means that we unobtrusively listen to your baby’s heart rate under water while you are in the water birth tub. In this way, we can allow you to labor undisturbed and assess the well-being of your baby at the same time. 

  • Even if you do not want to have a water birth, you can labor in the water birth tub to enjoy many of the benefits of an unmedicated, water birth. Many people find that the water birth tub makes the difference between coping with the intensity of labor and not tolerating it. 

Where Can I Find More Information on Waterbirth? 

Waterbirth International is an organization that was formed to encourage research, distribute information,and help people interested in the concept of waterbirth to use the technique. It is a great resource for books and videos. In Portland, water birth is a very common option for people who are planning to have a natural birth. If you are interested, there are likely groups in your area or people you know who have had water births- just ask! If you are pregnant and want more information on having a water birth in Portland, Hood River, or anywhere in the Columbia River Gorge, you can schedule a consultation with our practice and we will gladly answer your questions. We are passionate about helping people to have their babies in the way that feels best to them, and we would love to answer any questions you have about waterbirth and whether it’s right for you.