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"We spend the first nine months of our life immersed in amniotic fluid"

In pre and perinatal psychology, our birth journey is defined as the time just before conception through to birth, and the first months or even years adapting to life in a human body. We might not remember it cognitively but our cells, our bones, our muscles, our senses, our emotions and our spirit certainly do. To me this is evidence based experience accumulated through direct experience while supporting human beings in water in a learn to swim environment, as a pregnancy and birth doula as well as in a therapeutic context as an integrative aquatic therapist.        


Water tells our birth story.


Our relationship to water says a lot about our birth and pre-birth experiences. The way our bodies behave in water can reveal physical, emotional and behavioral impressions of how we spent our first nine months immersed in amniotic fluid and the subsequent passage through the birth canal to the other side. Our relationship to water is natural, primal and instinctive. When we are immersed in warm water our bodies soften and open up releasing any tensions that were stored in the body.


Our birth imprints held within the body in different ways and on many levels, are allowed to resurface when in water. When babies are introduced to water for the first time subsequent to their birth, these birth imprints can easily and subtly show up. During an infant healing bath in the first month after a baby’s birth at home we can help a baby integrate any tensions held in their body from their birth experience. Birth informed baby swimming classes after their fourth trimester can also help your baby transition into this world and their new little body more gently.


Water releases birth tensions and imprints naturally which allows a baby’s innate intelligence to unfold these gently rather than in a forced way. The direction they prefer to turn their head in, for example, most likely shows which way they turned their head in order to push through the birth canal. How a baby moves their body, their muscle tone, their sensory reflexes, their presence of being, all say a lot about their previous experience in water while in the womb.


Whether a baby was induced, for example, birthed through emergency caesarian or allowed to be born in their own time, will affect the way they embrace new learning experiences. Head position, breath control and body alignment are all physical factors which have been strongly set by our early experiences in the womb and influence our subsequent ability to swim.


Some birth imprints show up very clearly in water, particularly if there has been some evident birth trauma.


Some patterns are a lot more subtle and will only show up if we allow them the time and the space to do so. In the same way that water helped us grow and develop in the womb it also helps us grow and unfold when getting used to living with gravity. Water slows us down into the here and now while inviting more awareness and connection with our physical bodies.


Infant and baby swimming classes that reintroduce babies to water with a pre and perinatal awareness, offer an opportunity for your baby to fully integrate their birth experience while also being introduced to developmentally appropriate activities in water that support your baby to unfold and to grow in their own time. As an integrative aquatic therapist, a pregnancy and birth doula as well as a newborn and baby aquatic educator I have combined a sequence of professional modalities that have allowed me to create a continuum of experience that supports the entire birth journey.


I am excited and honored to have supported the entire birth journey of babies with water and to have witnessed how and why they are developing differently. If you would like more information on infant healing baths, therapeutic baby sessions or baby swimming classes starting in May in Corfu, Greece please contact Sophia Michalopoulou directly.

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