Globally, several moms-to-be are opting for the water birthing process to welcome their babies into the world. In a water birth, either a partial or complete birthing process is completed while sitting in a birth pool filled with warm water.
It is widely believed to ease the pain for the mother and be a mild birth experience for the baby. If you want to consider water birth for your baby, then check with the best hospital for pregnancy in your city. Some hospitals may not allow actual delivery in water, but may allow you to experience labor in water and then move to a bed for delivery. Either way, check with your hospital beforehand.
Benefits of water birth
Considered one of the natural birthing techniques, that is not using any medication or epidural during labor and delivery, water birthing is becoming increasingly popular among couples willing to try new methods. Some benefits of water birth include:
- Lower risk of vaginal tearing
- Easier labor
- Reduced labor duration due to relaxation
- Greater patient fulfillment
How does water birth work?
The birth pools are partly packed with slightly warm water that is close to human body temperature. The pool is not a “hot tub”. Some disposable liners in these pools reduce the risk of infection and remove cross-contamination. Also, water birth experts use water-proof monitoring tools to track the birthing process and intervene if needed.
Usually, you enter the pool only when you are in active labor or are nearly 6 centimeters dilated. In addition, the baby should have a healthy heart rate. Some women may choose to keep moving in and out of the pool throughout labor. The process is flexible and allows you to stay or leave the pool for birth. If you feel water birth is not working for you, you can also choose other pain relief alternatives such as an epidural. However, discuss your options with your doctor and proceed only if you are completely convinced. Going into labor without clarity on what you want could be risky.
Is water birth safe?
Many women fear that a baby born in water can drown. Remember, your baby was surrounded by the amniotic fluid until delivery. A newborn has numerous defensive mechanisms to stop them from breathing underwater. Initially, when the baby is in the uterus, they get the oxygen they need through the umbilical cord and placenta. Although they do not breathe air in the womb, they learn to breathe by moving the suitable muscles and diaphragm regularly and rhythmically from as early as 10 weeks of conception.
Who may use the birth pool for labor?
While there are several benefits of water birth, keep these factors in mind to ensure the safety of the mother and the baby. You must use the birth pool during labor only if:
- You are over 37 weeks pregnant
- You do not have any health problems such as hypertension and epilepsy that may cause complications during labor
- You do not need continuous monitoring during labor
- You can get in and out of the bath without any help
- There is no risk of infection to you, your baby, and your caregivers
- Your BMI is less than 30 and your weight is below 90 kilograms at the time of labor so that the staff can move you in and out of the tub if needed.
Potential risks of water birth
Despite being a natural process, there are always some risks associated with birthing. Some risks of water birth include:
- The umbilical cord might detach
- The mother may experience severe bleeding after delivery
- The baby or mother may catch a bacterial infection due to the water in the tub
- The baby may swallow the pool water
- The body temperature of the baby might be too high or too low
One of the biggest advantages of water birth is being partially submerged in warm water during labor helps in managing pain better. Being in the water helps you relax. It lowers the adrenaline level and stimulates the production of oxytocin which helps in contractions and lactation after childbirth, and endorphins that give you pain relief. This helps you to relax and focus on the birthing process. If you are keen on considering water birth for your baby, then reach out to the experts in the best hospital for pregnancy in your city and discuss options way before you are set for labor.