Water birth is a procedure that involves labor, delivery or both in a tub filled with warm water. This can happen at the hospital or at home with the supervision of a midwife or doctor. Water birth is believed to be a natural birth option that allows both mother and child an easier birth process. More so, the baby who has been in an amniotic fluid sac the whole nine months will be gently ushered into another familiar environment.
Water births are generally believed to speed up delivery and ease pain without the use of an anesthesia. If a labor and delivery process is speedy and less stressful, there would most likely be no fetal complications.
Here are some ticks before initiating a water birth
- Ensure that both labor and delivery are done under the guidance of a medical professional
- The tub is thoroughly clean and rid of any infection
- The water temperature is well regulated
- Drink sufficient water during labor and birth to avoid dehydration
- Immediate exit plan from the tub as soon as it is required
Water birth benefits for the mother and baby
- It provides an environment that is the same as the amniotic sac for the baby, creating a comforting and familiar feeling.
- Being almost fully immersed in water helps your body release more labor hormones that stimulates sustained contraction. This will make labor end faster.
- You will less likely have shallow breaths as water gives your body some level of relaxation and soothing feeling even when labor progresses.
- Because being in water gives a lighter feeling, you can adopt comfortable positions that can help your baby descend through easily, as you push.
- Staying in warm water may help you cope better with the pain of contractions as your body may have released endorphin hormones.
- The baby may have no risk of fetal complications because the mother’s energy is increased and labor is stress free.
- The many adaptable positions in a water birth helps with better blood circulation.
- Since the water provides better uterine contractions, this provides more oxygen for the baby.
- Being in water can lower high blood pressure as fears and anxieties are reduced, giving the woman a better mental relaxation.
- The woman may not need an episiotomy or even sustain tears as water makes the perineum more elastic.
The water birth process has some benefits but it can also generate risks especially if not done under proper medical supervision.
Water birth Risks
- The mother and baby may be at a risk of overheating or dehydration if the water is too hot.
- There may be a possible risk of water embolism or water aspiration.
- There is a greater risk of infection for both the mother and baby
- If your baby inhales water, it may be unable to breathe properly and may have seizures
- If there’s any development during labor, getting out of the water may be very uncomfortable and obstructing for the comfort the woman already feels.
- Because of the exposure to water, the baby’s temperature may get too high or too low and this isn’t good for the baby.
- If there’s an emergency, it may take a while to help the woman out of the water to get her the desired help.
- The umbilical cord could become twisted, snap or tear even before the baby surfaces from the water.
- Some infections can easily be transferred in water from the mother to the child.
- Though this could be rare, but water birth can put your baby at a risk of drowning.
Regardless of the risks, if done under proper medical guidance and monitoring, a water birth can be the most natural and positive experience for most women.