The first documented underwater birth was in 1803. It was noted that a woman exhausted from a long labor went into a hot tub to relax and had her baby soon after.
Later, in 1960, the idea of giving birth underwater was pioneered by Igor Tjarkovsky, a Soviet researcher and swimming instructor. He helped hundreds of women give birth underwater.
In 1977, Michel Odent, a French obstetrician, introduced mothers to a pool of warm water so they could relax, also helping with pain relief. Over the next five to six years, thousands of women used the pool during their labor.
In the 1980s, water birth had spread across the world from France to America.
Today, many private hospitals and midwifery units have their own pools, and
mothers sometimes hire out pools to take to the hospital or for home births.
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