Water birth can be part of your home birth plan. My second birth took place at home in an inflatable pool in the middle of our dining room. Not all home births are water births. Water births can happen at home, at birth centers, and in certain hospitals with some planning. At home, you can use a deep bathtub or rent or buy an inflatable pool. Labouring and birthing in water has many draws.
For one, the warmth and the buoyancy of the water can feel soothing for the mother. It won’t take away the pain, I’m sorry to say, but it can take the edge off, and it’s just generally a more comfortable place to be. You don’t want to submerse in water too early, because that can slow the progression of labour. You have a lower likelihood of tearing and needing stitches when birth happens in the water. I had no tearing following my water birth. For my first, out of water and unmedicated, I had a minor labial tear. I didn’t experience perineal tearing, which is worse in terms of stitching and healing, and occurs relatively often in vaginal birth. I would advise any pregnant woman to consider what can be done, as far as birth choices go, to lower that risk, including water and an upright or all-fours birthing position.
Water is also a calm and gentle environment for the baby to transition into. The thought of the baby being under water can be a bit unnerving for some, but that is simply an unfounded fear. Remember, in utero, the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid, receiving all of their oxygen through the umbilical cord. A baby born into water will not take their first breath of air until they emerge from the water. As long as the water is clean and the temperature is within a good range, the baby can safely and happily be born this way.