The gift of doing this conscious connected breathing is so powerful! Each time you do it, you release exactly what you need to in that moment and go on to experience a lighter state of being. Ahhhh…can’t you just feel the peace now?
Breath is what is called a primary pattern, meaning it’s one of the first things a child does when he or she is born. Your whole body responds to the air that you bring in through your lungs, not just your chest, and oxygen is the most vital nutrient your body requires.
While you can live without food and water for days, possibly months, you will survive for a mere four minutes, six at best, without air. Your breath is the interface between voluntary movement and the more passive activities of your organs because it can be somewhat controlled by conscious effort. But, when we let go with our attention, breath continues to flow into our tissues and feed our cells.
Sadly, many people have forgotten how to breathe. Fear, worry, and stress contract the tissues around the rib cage and bring in only a small amount of air, just barely enough to maintain basic functions. Some people teach that there is a “proper” way to breathe, for meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, relaxation, labor, etc.
It’s easy to learn a breath pattern that serves a particular activity and then to get stuck there indefinitely. These patterns, which at first liberate us from our own neurological rut, transform into a prison with no alternatives. When you have one choice, you have a prison, two choices is a dilemma, and having three choices equals adaptability. We’re striving for adaptability.
Breath is a powerful tool, and when you develop awareness of your own pattern, you can alter it to accompany sports, change your emotions, increase or decrease muscular tension, activate your organs, strengthen your singing or speaking voice, and to support or change the curvature of your spine. And you thought breath just oxygenated your blood! By working with the flow of breath in your body, you basically go beneath all the harmful and damaging movement patterns you’ve learned throughout your life and reset your body in a neutral place. This is, of course, a process and a practice; however, for profound physical and emotional changes, there is no greater lever than breath work.
Your ribs function much like Venetian blinds that hang in a window. If you’ve ever looked at a skeleton, you’ll notice that the rib bones are flat and wide, not round like most people assume. In a living body, the ribs – actually, all bones – are flexible, soft, and pliable. Unfortunately, science studies dead bodies that are devoid of fluid, so we mistakenly think of bones as dried up, rock hard structures. The reality is quite the contrary! In fact, even in dried bone, if the bone is chipped or broken in half, you will see a honeycomb of very fragile calcium strata that looks like a delicate beehive.
Living bone is more like a sponge than a rock. Yes, it’s more stable than muscle or connective tissue, but our bones, like the rest of our body, hold a lot of fluid in them. This allows your bones to adjust to breath and other subtle rhythms within the body. As you inhale, your whole body should open up and go into external rotation (palms moving outward, legs rotating away from the hips, spine extending – imagine a starfish reaching outward with all five arms), and as you exhale, your body should subtly reverse the movement, coming inward towards the fetal position.
Did you know that everywhere you have ribs, you also have lung space? You have just as much rib bone in your back as you do in the front of your body, therefore, you also have just as much availability for breath and movement in your back.
The primary muscle to initiate breath should be the diaphragm; however, most people are unaware of how their diaphragms function. It is a large, dome shaped muscle that spans your costal arch (the front, lower part of your ribs, where your abdomen begins). As you inhale, the dome flattens downward, toward your feet, pulling air into the chest cavity. When you exhale, the muscle relaxes and is pulled back up towards the sky, pressing air out of your lungs.
Breathing rhythms are too small to notice most of the time. They are overshadowed by the greater vibrations in our world – cars, music, chatting on the telephone. We rarely pause long enough to pay attention to our breathing, and equally as dangerous, when we do pay attention, we are usually trying to control and manipulate it rather than allow it to flow naturally and fully. Breath should move organically to release blockages of tension and negative emotion that have been stored in the body.
Trying too hard to control the breath can result in pain, discomfort, or reduced range of motion if you become fixated in one type of breath work. Try the following exercises to begin. monitoring your breathing. I find it easiest to do this while lying down, but you can also sit in a chair if that’s more comfortable. Allow your breath to flow in and out of your body in a natural rhythm. You may be surprised to discover that you take in very little air! That’s okay, don’t try to change anything just yet.
- Notice whether you pause after you inhale or exhale or if you just keep on breathing.
- Do you feel your breath more in your chest or your stomach?
- Does your stomach rise or drop inward toward your spine as you inhale?
- Can you feel your diaphragm pulling downward toward your feet as you breathe in?
- Spend a little time focusing on your diaphragm and imagining the large dome flattening out when you inhale, resuming its dome-like shape as you exhale.
- Do you feel movement in any other areas of your body when you breathe, such as your spine, hands, feet, arms, legs, or even your head?
- Do you have more breath in the front of your body or the back of your body?
- Begin to explore the edges of the shape of your breath. For example, if you feel your breath makes a narrow tube down the center of your body, start feeling where the edges of the tube exist. How far down does it travel? Breathe into the edges as you explore.
The simple act of noticing your breath will begin to shift the pattern. Don’t try too hard! That negates the purpose of the exercise.
Here’s dessert: a guided meditation to help improve your breathing.
Today’s blog is by Seattle, Washington’s Sukie Baxter, Holistic Arts Practitioner and Wellness Consultant. Sukie helps clients achieve amazing mental, physical, and emotional vitality. To learn how to rejuvenate your body and soul using natural health strategies that get real results, register for her free weekly articles at http://www.SukieBaxter.com. Thanks Sukie!!
As the freedom of our breath is restrained by the experiences we have repressed, our breath is teaching us about our state of consciousness.
Breath is a language that expresses itself through the location of the breath in the body, breathing sounds, and breath rhythms. For example, when the breath is rapid and high in the chest, it is frequently communicating about grief and fear; when in the middle of the chest, it is about anger, when pulled into the belly in a ceratin way, it tells about feelings pushed away as far as possible.
Our breath language tells us when we are “activated”. In life, and in breathwork sessions, we are activated when our repressed experiences and their related suffering are brought to consciousness and we think and react under their influence rather than behaving autonomously.
A breathwork session will activate past suffering and bring it to consciousness for integration. The breather arrives at insight into the cause of the problem at vision with regard to its solution. Breathwork sessions may be individual, accompanied by a professional breathworker, or take place in groups led by professional breathworkers.
The pattern of a breathwork session is ACTIVATION, INTEGRATION, INSIGHT, VISION. This pattern can be repeated several times during the same session.
At the end of a breathwork session, once the breath has done its work, it is likely to completely fill our physical body and our energy bodies. Then we breathe in from below our feet, take our breath above our head, and let it go like a wave, down to below our feet. This breath is about transcendental harmony.
by Joy Manne, from her book “Conscious Breathing”.
Rebirthing, as a natural therapy, has powerful application as a tool of spiritual healing, and has helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to improve their health, even as far as overcoming medically incurable conditions.
Even if you don’t currently suffer from ill-health, Rebirthing can give you much more personal energy, boost your sense of aliveness, and improve your resistances to common diseases such as colds and flu.
We as rebirthers work from the point of view that people’s mental, emotional and spiritual states have an enormous influence on the health of the physical body, and we use many of the tools of metaphysical healers such as Louise Hay in our work with clients.
From our perspective, society pressures individuals into keeping most of their emotional pain suppressed, akin to households in a strange town being told not to put their rubbish out on the street for collection. In such households, the rubbish accumulates and rots within the house, eventually making the house unliveable. The same is true of the human body if we don’t practise good habits of emotional and spiritual hygeine.
For years, we have seen people’s health improve after they rid their bodies of years of emotional blockage. In our view, the subconscious effort of keeping emotional blockages suppressed puts enormous strain on the body’s systems, especially the immune system. When these blockages are released, the body has more resources available with which to combat illness, even repair and regenerate damaged organs and tissues.
One startling example of this was a physician in the South Island of New Zealand who was dying of non-Hodgkins lymphatic cancer. Before rebirthing, this poor man was devastated by the condition. I (Pauline Avis McNab) reached out to him. Within five weeks of his first Rebirthing session, he recorded clear bone marrow tests, clear blood tests and clear CT scans – a complete absence of the condition which was otherwise sending him quickly to an early grave. To this doctor’s credit, he did comply with all of the requirements of my healing programme, including frequent private sessions, weekly group session and attendance on my practitioner training course. In this time, he had numerous dry and water rebirthing sessions. This healing was featured on a nationwide TV documentary
(New Zealand, November 1991, Paul Holmes Show, TV1)
Rebirthing founder Leonard Orr, on that same TV documentary, said that he knew of “many thousands of cancer cases, and many hundreds of AIDS cases” that had cleared up completely where Rebirthing was the main or only healing process used.
To us, healing of any physical condition is a mundane natural occurence which takes place automatically when people release the underlying emotional pain which has caused this condition. Such pain may be triggered by traumatic events in adult life — and/or, it will likely have roots much earlier in life, even as far back as a person’s birth and time in the womb!
Rebirther Sondra Ray observed that, while a nurse, a large number of her oncology ward patients had suffered a major emotional upset within the year prior to their cancer diagnosis
One thing we must stress is that healing is a journey for each individual. The wonderful tool of Rebirthing, while enormously powerful, is not enough in itself to bring about automatic healing. There are two other essential components:
Some (but not all) rebirthers possess this supportive vibration to a level which can facilitate the healing of medically incurable illness. Attaining and maintaining this healing vibration is a demanding process which requires rebirthers to rebirth themselves frequently, to practise this and many other spiritual purification techniques on an ongoing basis, and maintain a level of relative isolation from mainstream society. We at Rebirthing New Zealand work hard on ourselves each and every day. From this discipline, we have been able to facilitate many otherwise medically impossible healings.
One last thing we must stress on the subject of healing of ‘physical’ conditions (and we put the word ‘physical’ in quotes, because we see all so-called ‘physical’ illness as mental/emotional/spiritual illness accompanied by bodily symptoms):
If there’s something wrong in your body, then a priori there’s something wrong in your (past and/or present) life. If there’s anything in your life you are unwilling to let go of – whether it be place of residence, relationships, job, career, lifestyle – your healing prospects could be cruelly limited.
In all the successful healings we’ve seen, people have been willing to let go of everything – marriages, financial assets, jobs, everything – but after the healing, they in effect have not had to give up much at all, except for their dysfunctional relationship with themselves, others and the world around them. They have even kept their money, but enjoyed it a whole lot more with a whole new perspective on life.
If you are looking towards Rebirthing as a healing option, you can maximise your chances by being as frankly honest about yourself and your life as possible. Through your healing journey, you can expect many of your perspectives on life to change dramatically, as you head into a reality of emotional lightness, personal freedom, mental clarity and spiritual empowerment.
Energy becomes what it thinks about. This is the most basic truth about Life. If you really understand these words, you are spiritually enlightened. Energy becomes what it thinks about. Energy is the Source of all things. Energy is Infinite Being, the Eternal Spirit; Energy is Substance. Energy is God. But Energy is evenly distributed throughout space and time. It just exists and doesn’t do anything. Energy just is! However, thinking is a quality of Energy and moves Energy. When Energy becomes impregnated by thought, Energy organizes Itself into the form directed by the thought – which may be a physical thing. Energy naturally becomes what it thinks about. Energy directed by thought can materialize into physical things, social realities, or personal feelings and spiritual abilities. There is only one Energy in the universe, but there can be any number of thinking centers of this energy. All thinkers share the same Energy. We are all activity centers in the same Energy. We are thinking centers in the same One Being. We create our own reality, we share the reality which others create, and we become aware of the reality which the Ultimate Thinking Center of Energy has created. We usually call it Nature or God. We are the director of this Energy and so is everyone else, but there is a greater original Creator who has created a very big universe for us to play in. We each create our own reality within this big game and we try to successfully interact with the Big Creator and other people’s creation, but we also have, given to us by our family tradition and conditioning from our parents, a whole package of created things. To the extent that we are recreating our parents’ reality, we have to learn to choose it or un-create it in order to be free. We begin absorbing our parents feelings, thoughts, and manifested realities when we are in the womb. By the time we become enlightened and accept our creative power, we have a whole repertoire of feelings, beliefs, habits, and realities to work with. We can stay stuck with them or we can change them. To heal the emotional mind we received from our family is called spiritual liberation. This seems to take a lifetime for people to successfully do, but we cannot succeed at all if we do not start the process of self healing. And our chances of success are determined by the quality of principles and practices which we use.
We begin by passing judgement upon each thought as it flows through our consciousness. Selecting a mantra and working with it constantly is the perhaps the most efficiently way to upgrade the quality of our thoughts and feelings. A good mantra should focus our Energy on the realization of our natural divinity. It will liberate us from negative thoughts, feelings, and realities. It will enable us to create what we like and consciously choose. It will make it easier to master our life. We can also upgrade the quality of our thoughts by studying the great Scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, The Devi Bhagavatam, and especially the Shiva Purana which is the most complete picture of human divine potential as well as inspiration and practices to achieve it.
Bathing twice per day cleans the energy body which is our mind in action. Daily bathing is an infinitely valuable spiritually powerful practice. We cannot survive in this world with all kinds of “energies” flying around us every day without the spiritual purification practice of daily bathing. Without bathing, we become more polluted and our body becomes stiffer until we can no longer function in this world and we die to get out of the world. Water purification keeps us alive. It makes Life more pleasurable and gives us greater power and mastery. Drinking good water is also water purification.
Diet is also important. The lighter food we eat, the more Life Energy we have. The human body and energy system was not designed to process meat according to the oldest Scriptures – The Shiva Purana – as well as modern science. The popular practice of eating meat kills more people than alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs combined. Having a personal exercise system is also important. And having a career that we love and enables us to win the money game is also a part of earth mastery. Receiving body massages and listening to good music are also earth disciplines.
We have to learn the ability to breathe energy as well as air. Intuitive energy breathing, often called Rebirthing, is one of the most important skills of spiritual liberation.
Fire purification is also very important. Water, Earth, Air, and Fire are the eternal qualities of this Infinite Energy. Learning the spiritual power of fire and using it on a daily basis is a healing practice that is essential to human health and aliveness. Fire purification keeps us alive. Fire can clean our energy body and help us maintain our physical body in health and joy. Fire can burn pain, tension, and disease out of the body. Exposure to an open flame is as important to human health as good food, exercise, energy breathing, daily bathing, and wholesome thoughts. Fire is magical and powerful. Fire is a physical quality of God that can clean us and heal us spiritually and physically.
Love is also essential. Love is the subjective experience of Infinite Energy. To the extent that we feel love, we are tuned into our Divine Energy. Intelligent Energy creates with mind, earth, air, water, fire, and love. The basic idea of spiritual purification is to clean and balance our energy body often enough to keep it in joy and good working order so we can enjoy Life – so that we can embody and express this Infinite Energy in the world. Energy become what it thinks about. To the extent that we do daily spiritual practices with mind, water, earth, air, fire, and love, we move steadily on the path of spiritual liberation, personal freedom and power, and aliveness. To the extent that we neglect these fundamental qualities of our divine nature, we increase our emotional mud and lose our health and aliveness, our peace and joy of living. Without spiritual purification practices, our life urge becomes weaker, more dense, filled with darkness, and living becomes more difficult. Our body gets stiffer and stiffer. Religions that are not focused upon spiritual purification practices produce dead people. Without spiritual purification, people become sick and stiff like zombies. These dead zombies spread emotional energy pollution, sickness, and death to everyone they contact. Understanding these ideas is basic to living as Intelligent Energy. Energy is love and bliss and power. This Intelligent Energy has thought itself into earth, air, water, and fire. The Life of the universe as well as the human body is the intelligent and loving interplay between earth, air, water, and fire. From the standpoint of human existence, earth, air, water, and fire are the eternal qualities of God. Earth, air, water, and fire have to exist before you an have a human body as we know it. Therefore earth, air, water, and fire precede human beings. To have a conscious relationship to earth, air, water, and fire through simple daily spiritual practices with them is basic to realizing our potential as Intelligent Energy. I give you these fundamental thoughts out of love. For more information on these ideas, check out my books and tapes. I also give personal consultations over the phone as well as lectures, or trainings. You are invited to contact me at the following address or phone number:
PO Box 1026,
Staunton, VA 24402,
USA phone: (+1) (540) 885-0551/fax -1230.
To go deeper into the subject of this article, here is a list of recommended titles:
Leonard Orr’s books & tapes as well as a selection of other very valuable materials are available for sale on this web site. Information about the Leonard Orr Training Center is available on this web site.
Well, this is a loaded question isn’t it? What I’m really asking is, “Who do you think you are in your unconscious mind”? Because that’s who is driving the bus of your life! One of the most helpful gifts found in the first Breathwork session is the discovery of your personal lie. Your personal lie is that most negative thought that you have about yourself that was probably thought during a pre-verbal moment of something very stressful, scary, painful or traumatic.
An event such as this usually happens within the first few moments of our birth. Reading Dr. Fredrick LeBoyer’s remarkable book, “Birth Without Violence“, can help you to understand how present and impressionable newborns really are. All babies are conscious of every single thing happening around them from the moment of conception! So imagine, or recall if you will, being pulled from a nice, warm and cozy environment in which the temperature was constant, you had 24-hr “womb” service, and all that you needed was provided without even thinking about it. You’re pulled from this environment out into a cold, painfully bright, loud room by people who are doing the best job they know how to do, but are innocently and unconsciously having their own painful birth trauma reenacted for them thereby bringing their fears into your birth experience. Welcome to the world!
Once you’re out, it is now imperative that you are separated, cleaned and assessed. The lifeline you have breathed from, eaten from and played with for nine months is suddenly cut so quickly that you have a sense of panic, of fear that there isn’t enough air or life (later this can extend into love, food, money, sex or happiness). This is where our breathing mechanism becomes faulted. Then you are taken abruptly from your mum and cleaned with harsh cloths and soaps by someone who is innocently doing their job very efficiently but with their own unconscious memories coming up. Let’s face it, the act of delivering a baby has been mechanized and almost dehumanized. It can be very cold and callous to a sensitive individual. This is where the personal lies are most often created.
In scenes such as those above, a baby could have the thought, “Life is hard, “Life is a struggle”, “Men hurt me”, “Women hurt me”, “I have to experience pain to live”. And that is just with a “normal” birth. Add elements such as forceps, vacuum extraction, Cesarian or breech and the thoughts are much more intense. Since the baby is conscious and thinking these thoughts, they will wonder, “What did I do”? “What is wrong with me that this happened to me”? The personal lie is then thought: “I am not good enough”, “I am bad”, “I am unloveable”, or “I am unworthy”.
The personal lie could come even earlier, perhaps during the 1st trimester when the parents have just found out they are pregnant and innocently have some fear going on, not to mention their own unconscious birth trauma memories coming up for them. The baby picking up on this energy of fear similarly wonders, “What did I do wrong”, “Why is this happening”.
What is important to know is that everyone walking on this planet has a personal lie; a very negative and untrue thought that is serving to sabotage their results or challenge their efforts in all aspects of their lives. Granted, even the most successful people don’t appear to have any demons haunting them, but all one has to do is look at some of the headlines making the news today to see that everyone has something thwarting even the best of intentions.
What do you do with the personal lie? How do you get rid of it? This is where a trained Breathworker is invaluable! S/He will help you to discover your personal lie and then recommend some home activities for you to do to reprogram it. You will learn from your Breathworker that we do one of three things with these thoughts:
1. We act it out.
2. We overcompensate for it. (the overachiever or the obsessive/compulsive tendencies)
3. We project it onto to other people, places or things. (“Nothing is ever good enough”)
Discovering and reprogramming your personal lie is an incredibly powerful and empowering thing. So are the other tools you can learn from and work you can do with a Breathworker. And since your personal lie impacts ALL aspects of your life: work, money, health, relationships, and happiness, ALL aspects of your life stand to improve from the work you do with your Breathworker.
My passion and life’s purpose is working with pregnant women and their significant others to help them to clear their birth trauma BEFORE the delivery, better yet with women/couples who desire to have a child so that the entire process of conception, pregnancy and delivery can be a clear and divine one. The other aspect is working with the “authority figures” (more about this in future posts) so that they are clear in the delivery and bringing little to none of their own birth trauma fears into the room with them.
It’s a wonderful process and a worthy one…one I hope you’ll assist me with along the way as a supporter, a client, a referral source or a happy rebirthee!
I found a couple of great websites and some powerful info that I’d like to share with you. The first is www.babystepsonline.net, which is a company offering Intuitive Birthing classes. Their links/resources page is great! I plan to contact these powerful women and work with them to share rebirthing with their clients.
The second site is www.terrylarimore.com, who is an LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) among other certifications. Her collection of readings and writings is wonderful. I highly recommend the article “Babies Are Conscious”, by Dr. David Chamberlain.
The last piece I wish to share with you is some information about water birthing. I began my education about water delivery in 2006, when I first attended an LRT, Loving Relationship Training. Not a lot ws discussed about it at that point, but I remember a seed was planted. While training to become a Certified Breathworker/Rebirther, we talked extensively about the subject and saw footage of a live water birth and a live hospital birth. The difference in the reactions of the baby were incredible! In the water birth, the baby was so calm and peaceful versus the hospital delivery in which the baby was tense and anxious. I knew then that I wanted to share this information with other medical professionals. I also knew that I would deliver this way if I ever were pregnant (the training was in January and I conceived in February).
Today, I found a wonderful waterbirthing site for your review. Should you want to investigate the benefits of this form of delivery or know of someone who would benefit from this information, this is a great site to go to: http://www.waterbirth.org/
Here are some of the FAQ’s:
Why is water birth not available in more hospitals?
Waterbirth International works diligently with couples who want to use warm water during their births in a hospitals. We have been very successfully with obtaining approvals for our portable pools in many hospitals in the last ten years. Hospitals are more cooperative today than ever before as doctors and midwives begin to see the benefits of allowing women to make their own choices.
Waterbirth profoundly demonstrates that a woman is empowered by “giving birth,” not “being delivered”. Many health care providers are seeing women take charge of their birth experiences and welcome this attitude and do what they can to facilitate a gentle birth. But others are still “locked into” the medical technological model of birth and have a harder time being convinced of the efficacy and safety of waterbirth. As couples become more informed of their options, they are assuming more responsibility for their own birth experience. If you would like one of Waterbirth International’s midwife or physician consultants to work with your doctor or hospital, simply contact us. We’ll call and discuss the approaches to take and the steps that are necessary to change policy.
1. Prostaglandin E2 levels from the placenta which cause a slowing down or stopping of the fetal breathing movements. When the baby is born and the Prostaglandin level is still high, the baby’s muscles for breathing simply don’t work, thus engaging the first inhibitory response.
2. Babies are born experiencing mild hypoxia or lack of oxygen. Hypoxia causes apnea and swallowing, not breathing or gasping.
3. Water is a hypotonic solution and lung fluids present in the fetus are hypertonic. So, even if water were to travel in past the larynx, they could not pass into the lungs based on the fact that hypertonic solutions are denser and prevent hypotonic solutions from merging or coming into their presence.
4. The last important inhibitory factor is the Dive Reflex and revolves around the larynx. The larynx is covered all over with chemoreceptors or taste buds. The larynx has five times as many as taste buds as the whole surface of the tongue. So, when a solution hits the back of the throat, passing the larynx, the taste buds interprets what substance it is and the glottis automatically closes and the solution is then swallowed, not inhaled.
For a more complete description, please read Barbara Harper’s Waterbirth Basics
What is the temperature of the water?
Water should be monitored at a temperature that is comfortable for the mother, usually between 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperature should not exceed 101 degrees Fahrenheit as it could lead to an increase in the mother’s body temperature which could cause the baby’s heart rate to increase. It is a good idea to have plenty of water to drink and cold cloths for the mother’s face and neck. A cool facial mist from a spray bottle is a welcome relief for some mothers as well.
How much does a waterbirth cost?
If you rent a portable poolfor either home or hospital birth, it usually costs about $375, which includes the rental fee, shipping both ways, and all the extras that you might need. Some insurance companies do reimburse for the expense of the pool rental. If the hospital has permanent birth pool equipment, there is not really even any need to let your insurance company know that you have had a waterbirth. Just in case they may object to the process, it is always safe to inform the insurance company that the baby was born vaginally. It really doesn’t matter if the baby was born in the bath or on the bed – it is still a vaginal birth.
Can I have a water birth at my local hospital?
Waterbirth International diligently works with families who want to have a water birth in a hospital environment. Hospitals are more cooperative today than ever before as more and more women have made their choices heard. Many people start the process by inquiring if they can bring in a portable pool kit for labor. There are a series of steps that need to take place in order to assist hospitals and providers in adopting protocols for water labor and birth and the use of a portable pool. Our Gentle Birth Pool Kits have been used in hundreds of facilities, including several military hospitals (no easy task!).
Our Executive Director, Barbara Harper, is available to work with each family to assess how much is needed to get policies changed or established. Our success rate with hospitals and providers is about 95%. Call to discuss this aspect of our work if you want to help your local hospital institute a water birth policy. We ask that you become a memberof Waterbirth International or provide a donation in order to help us with the cost of effecting these changes.
How long is baby in the water after the birth?
Here in the US, practitioners usually bring the baby out of the water within the first ten seconds after birth. There is no physiological reason to leave the baby under the water for any length of time. There are several water birth videos that depict leaving the baby under the water for several moments after birth and the babies are just fine.
Physiologically, the placenta is supporting the baby with oxygen during this time though it can never be predicted when the placenta will begin to separate causing the flow of oxygen to baby to stop. The umbilical cord pulsating is not a guarantee that the baby is receiving enough oxygen. The safe approach is to remove the baby, without hurrying, and gently place him into his mother’s arms.
When should I get into the water?
A woman should be encouraged to use the labor pool whenever she wants. However, if a mother chooses to get into the water in early labor, before her contractions are strong and close together, the water may relax her enough to slow or stop labor altogether. That is why some practitioners limit the use of the pool until labor patterns are established and the cervix is dilated to at least 5 centimeters.
There is some physiological data that supports this rule, but each and every situation must be evaluated on its own.
Some mothers find a bath in early labor useful for its calming effect and to determine if labor has actually started. If contractions are strong and regular, no matter how dilated the cervix is, a bath might be in order to help the mother to relax enough to facilitate dilation.
Therefore, it has been suggested that the bath be used in a “trial of water” for at least one hour and allow the mother to judge its effectiveness. Midwives report that some women can go from 1 cm to complete dilation within the first hour or two of immersion. The first hour of relaxation in the pool is usually the best and can often help a woman achieve complete dilation quickly.
I am so honored and grateful be able to make this decision for myself and my baby. It’s exciting to think about how easy and gentle the experience can and will be. Now, because I am aware that thought is creative and that the baby is a divine child of God, he/she may have the desire to have another kind of experience for his/her own life lessons. I am respectful of what is meant to happen as part of the Divine plan for my life and for the baby’s life.