The video, which Oxenham posted to Facebook and Instagram, is less than a minute long and shows Lynn crouching in a waist-deep pool of water. After a few completely quiet moments, she starts breathing rapidly, holds the underside of her belly, and then, without as much as a yell, she gives birth.
Water birth has grown in popularity over the past few decades, according to the American Pregnancy Association. There is not a ton of research regarding the risks of water birth, but midwives and many Ob/Gyns believe that birthing in a pool of warm water may help mothers feel more relaxed, which may in turn reduce complications.
That said, there are a few potential risks: that the baby may breathe in water (though this is rare, and theoretical since babies don't normally breathe until they're exposed to air) and that the umbilical cord could snap when the baby is brought to the surface. The umbilical cord issue can be avoided if you have an experienced midwife or doctor supervising the birth. There are also specific cases in which water birth is not recommended (for example, if the mother has herpes or if the baby is breech).
As Lynn's birth video shows, water birth is a moving experience for many women and babies. At the time of writing, the video has been shared on Facebook over 100,000 times, and it’s garnered 10,500 views on Instagram. Comments have been overwhelmingly supportive, with one user on Facebook wondering, “How does she make this look easy???” and another on Instagram simply writing, “This is perfect.”
Watch the full video below.
My client Audra's beautiful second home birth. A midwife's role is fluid, providing whatever is necessary for each individual birthing experience, although almost always that role is simply to offer the gift of quiet presence. #thisishomebirth #thisisbirth#birthwithoutfear #anaheim #socal #california #waterbirth#sacredjourneymidwifery #homebirth #midwives #waterbabies @_made_of_stars_ and @petesykes