While waterbirth is often associated with homebirth, some hospitals offer it as an option, such as at McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, with labors attended by highly trained midwives. Having a hospital-based waterbirth is often seen as the best of both worlds for patients who want minimal interventions but like the peace of mind that comes from being within a hospital setting.
Giving birth in water naturally supports physiologic birth. The benefits of waterbirth are an improved experience of labor, decreased pain and lower rates of birth interventions. Not everyone is a candidate for waterbirth, but your midwife can discuss the risks and benefits with you, as well as your eligibility.
A hallmark of midwifery care is the principle of shared decision making. You may have heard of “informed consent.” Shared decision goes a step further. Midwives inform patients of all aspects of a decision, as we want our patients to take the lead in choosing what is best for them. We believe fundamentally that each person is the ultimate expert on their own body and choices about their health. This approach leads to long-term relationships between midwives and patients throughout their reproductive lives, as well as improved health outcomes.