The atmosphere for the birth can have a big impact on how positive the experience is. We encourage the practice of gentle birth techniques. Most women labor better in a soothing peaceful environment. The baby has spent nine months in a warm, dark, relatively quiet and cushioned atmosphere. They hear the constant lullaby of mom’s heartbeat and the rocking motion of her movements. It is quite a shock to be pushed and squeezed into a bright, cold, noisy world with people grabbing you and shoving you around. We can ease this shock somewhat by using low lights, soft voices, gentler physiologic pushing, water birth, warm soft towels to be received in, and immediately placed on mama’s tummy near that comforting heartbeat.
After the initial gasp, some babies just open their eyes and look around, quietly breathing and adjusting to the new situation.
The cord is not cut until breathing is well established with normal color and blood is no longer flowing through the cord. Some oxygen will be flowing through the cord during the first few moments after the birth to help sustain the baby while breathing is being initiated. Rarely is there need for more than gentle stimulation to get the baby off to a good start.
After the cord is cut, and the baby has nursed, it is further beneficial to let the baby float in a tub of 100-degree water. The warmth and the water relaxes the baby and provides a feeling of familiarity.
After The Birth
After the water float, while baby is warm and relaxed, is a good time to do the newborn exam. Once the placenta is delivered, and the occasional repair is taken care of, mom is ready to clean up, eat, snuggle up to her baby, and rest. Parents are encouraged to keep the baby close for the first few days as the baby transitions from life in the womb to life on the outside.