Women laboring and giving birth in the water did not come about in the USA until the early 1980s. I was teaching a childbirth class in 1981 when a couple came to the class and asked to watch a television program depicting women in the Soviet Union giving birth in the water.
It showed Igor Charkowsky assisting women in labor and giving birth in the water. It looked wonderful!! All six couples in the class said “That’s for me,” and asked me to assist them in having a water birth.
To obtain information about water births, I tracked down three unassisted water births that had occurred in California. I also interviewed a French obstetrician, Dr. Michel Odent, who had a childbirth clinic in Pithivier, France, where he had helped women have water births. I also did my own research to confirm that this could be SAFELY done.
After that, I traveled to Moscow and the Black Sea, where I worked with Igor Charkowsky in assisting water births.
I spoke at the First Underwater Birth Conference in Tutukaka, New Zealand, and eventually compiled all my research and experience into my book, WATER BIRTH: A MIDWIFE’S PERSPECTIVE.
I continue to assist women in having their water births and still marvel at how women and babies completely relax in the water. Charkowsky teaches babies to swim in the Black Sea. While there, I learned from him and will instruct parents to swim their babies.