History of Waterbirth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 09-01-2006, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mom and I were talking about natural birth yesterday (she shares a distrust of doctors and the medical community, and she had all 3 of her children in the hospital, but without pain medication ). I told her I was planning a waterbirth, and she was intrigued, and we had gotten into some of the history of birth like why women birth on their backs with doctors, etc. Well, she then asked me where waterbith comes in, historically? She mentioned that midwives have been used for thousands of years (you see mention of that early on in the Bible, etc.), and she mentioned that in some cultures, women go off by themselves to birth (UC), but she couldn't think of any waterbirth in history, and I couldn't either.

So has waterbirth been the norm in some cultures historically? One thing my mom mentioned... You never see land animals go off into the water to birth.

She didn't have a problem with waterbirth or anything. She was just interested in the historical aspect. And I'm of course planning a waterbirth and think it will be wonderful, but the historical aspect intrigues me too. Just a curiousity question! The way we do it today, the water is usually heated to body temp, and it seems like it'd be hard to find a natural body of water that's body temp, so a historical waterbirth would likely have been in cold water. So I'm curious about that too... does the cord still function in cold water?

Mama to Tornado Boy (6/04), The Brute (11/06), and Mischief (05/09)... expecting in February '15
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#2 of 10 Old 09-01-2006, 12:57 PM
 
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Russians have enjoyed waterbirth for some time - I don't know how long. Apparently there is some history of birthing in the Black Sea (where it's warmer). By history, I don't believe it's thousands or even hundreds of years, but maybe 50 or so.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#3 of 10 Old 09-01-2006, 12:57 PM
 
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I don't know but I am interested too... having spent our honeymoon in Cancun, I could totally see laboring in the water there, it is so warm... and many locations around the world have warm springs... I suppose it's entirely possible that when it was available warm water was utilized. Knowing how many of us crave water, it seems nearly instinctual.


Here's an excerpt from an article I found:

"We tend to think of labouring in water as something new. However, Janet Balaskas (2004) tells us that there are legends of South Pacific Islanders giving birth in shallow seawater and of Egyptian Pharaohs born in water. In some parts of the world today, such as Guyana, women go down to a special place by the local river to give birth."
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#4 of 10 Old 09-01-2006, 02:32 PM
 
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I don't have the book at hand, but I think Barbara Harper discusses this in Gentle Birth Choices. You might find a copy at the library...
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#5 of 10 Old 09-01-2006, 06:49 PM
 
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As far as I know, women have been birthing on their back (yuck!), since Louis XIV arranged for one of his mistresses to birth that way, so he could watch the birth easier from behind curtains. Pretty creepy reason huh?
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#6 of 10 Old 09-01-2006, 08:25 PM
 
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here is a link and photos of some of the first water births in Russia
http://www.birthintobeing.com/sub_wb...item=10003.txt

I knew I had this info somewhere and after searching i found it.
I also found a great clip about birth and posted it above
check it out it is very emotionally charged and honest and so beautiful

peace
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#7 of 10 Old 09-04-2006, 02:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamainmotion
here is a link and photos of some of the first water births in Russia
http://www.birthintobeing.com/sub_wb...item=10003.txt

I knew I had this info somewhere and after searching i found it.
I also found a great clip about birth and posted it above
check it out it is very emotionally charged and honest and so beautiful

peace
I looked at the link and I was fascinated by the photos. What are those photos of babies standing on people's palms? What is that? That's amazing!
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#8 of 10 Old 09-05-2006, 03:14 AM
 
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Read some stuff by Barbara Harper. In her book "Gentle Birth Choices" she talks a lot about it and how I think it's in Bali(???) waterbirths are the norm.

- Emy . Single mom to DS nut.gif Ezra (15.12.05), angel2.gif Thames (reincarnated 18.04.08) and DD rainbow1284.gif babyf.gif Allora (11.02.11) and dog2.gif Hoppylactivist.gif  novaxnocirc.gif  waterbirth.jpg fambedsingle2.gif bfinfant.giffemalesling.GIFcd.gif

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#9 of 10 Old 09-06-2006, 04:37 AM
 
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Any misspellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional;
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
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#10 of 10 Old 09-06-2006, 04:59 AM
 
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If you read Janet Balaskas "The Water Birth Book" - the 1st chapter is specifically the history of water birth. I recommend reading that.
In short, before plumbing and mass produced birthing pools... not comon in northern climates due to the cold water - would have been dangerous to mother and baby. In south pacific, hawaii, tropical climates with access to warm, shallow water, then birthing in water was common.
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