Are you curious about Waterbirth. A recent Aus study has found women who gave birth in water were more likely to experience shorter first and second stages of labour.

However a common question about waterbirth is, “What keeps the baby from breathing under water?”

Here are some great words from @waterbirthint website.

“There are four main factors that prevent the baby from inhaling water at the time of birth:

1. The foetus moves the muscles of the chest wall during pregnancy about 40% of the time. Close to the time of labor, the Prostaglandin E2 levels from the placenta rise, which cause a slowing down or stopping of those foetal breathing movements. As the baby is born, the Prostaglandin levels remain high, disabling the baby’s muscles for breathing. The muscles simply don’t work, thus engaging the first inhibitory response.

2. All babies are born experiencing mild hypoxia or low oxygen levels. Hypoxia causes apnea (absence of breathing) and swallowing, not breathing or gasping. The first reflex after a baby is born is to swallow, not breath. The swallowing will allow the fluids that are in the mouth to enter to stomach.

3. Foetal lungs are already filled with fluid. That fluid is there to protect the lungs, and keep the spaces open that will eventually exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. It is very difficult, if not improbable, for fluids from the birth tub to pass into those spaces that are already filled with fluid. One physiologist states that “the viscosity of the fluid naturally occurring in the lungs is so thick that it would be nearly impossible for any other fluids to enter.” The blood supply to the lungs is also very low during pregnancy and birth. This causes a high pressure within the lungs, thus keeping everything out.

4. The mammalian diving reflex is an inhibitory factor that is present at birth in all humans as well as all mammals. It lasts in humans up to six to eight months. When the face comes into contact with water, the glottis at the back of the throat automatically closes and prevents water from entering the lungs. Any solution that enters the throat is swallowed, not inhaled.