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Complete overview of water birth

Complete overview of water birth
August 09
10:20 2014

You might find it surprising that recently water birth has become immensely popular amongst pregnant women. Water birth as name suggests, is a process of delivering a baby in a tub of warm water. Some hospitals offer facility of water birth, while some doctors are still not convinced that it is completely safe. So, if you are considering water birth, then it is important that you understand the benefits and risks and after consulting with your doctor, you decide what can be a better option for you to deliver your baby.

How safe are water births:

The researches that have been conducted till date, suggest that babies born in water are equally fit than babies delivered otherwise.

A lot of women have quite good experiences laboring in water, but most importantly they received complete care from a doctor throughout the delivery and for obvious reasons this makes the birthing experience better.

In addition, their choice of water birth also recommends that they wanted to have a natural birth and at the same time, were less probable to choose pain relief.

There are no specific proofs that can suggest that delivering baby using this technique you or your bundle of joy are at elevated risk of infection. Hospitals generally follow strict guidelines in order to keep everything in place in and around the facility.  Though, there are no fixed safety suggestions about water’s temperature however, in general at the time of first stage of labor the temperature of water should be between 35-37°C and in the next stage it should be around 37-37.5 °C.

Your doctor should check the water temperature from time to time. Also, it is vital to keep the room temperature relaxed for you and to ensure that you keep your levels of fluid checked to prevent dehydration. During your labor, the doctor should repeatedly monitor your baby’s heart rate and if there are any issues about your or your baby’s health, you must be ready to come out of the pool.

The main concern obviously is related to actually delivering the baby underwater, but there is no proof of elevated perinatal mortality or need of special care baby units for birth in water.

Nine months that babies spent in your womb, they are immersed in the amniotic fluid and have a natural physiological response that should avert them from breathing until they are out of the liquid. However, any baby born in the water tub should be very slowly brought out of it with minimum touch to his/her face and head; if at all, this encourages their breathing response.

Furthermore, once the part of the baby’s head can be seen, in case, if it’s exposed to air, then it is advised to stay raised and partly half of the water, in order to avoid the risk of premature gasping of water.

Are water births faster:

Answering this question with a simple ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ is not possible, because some studies show that by laboring in water, primary stage of labor may be reduced, but the later stages can take more time. On the other hand, some studies show that laboring in water can delay labor, especially if even before active labor you enter the pool, because your body relaxes greatly.

Keeping this in mind, you can try to hold off while early labor and get in to pool only once your contractions are frequent (at least 3-4 every 10 minutes). Even though some studies show that at least 5 cm dilated is the most apt time to use the pool, however, if you require relief from pain you can get in earlier.

Possible benefits of water births:
  1. 1Can offer great relief from pain and lessen requirement for added medication, including opiates and epidurals.
  2. Water births are also likely to provide relaxation. The relaxing effect of water assists to coordinate contractions so that they are less nerve-racking for you and your baby.
  3. Greater buoyancy and the way water assists to support your body, it becomes easier for you to get in and change positions.
  4. You may feel less tired due to partial support offered by the water as a result you don’t have to work hard
  5. The complete holistic set up can assist in reducing stress. The surroundings are more like a spa which reduces stress level which assists in producing your own endorphins (your body’s natural painkillers)
  6. It can assist in lowering blood pressure
  7. In some conditions, they reduce the primary stage of labor
  8. Some studies also suggest that they are also less expected to need a ventouse or forceps delivery, an episiotomy or tear badly. However, in 2004, a Cochrane review found that, there was no major difference in time period of labor, operative delivery and perineal trauma.
Possible hazards of water birth:
  • Not all hospitals provide water birth facility
  • You can use a pool if you had an epidural and pethidine, while you can have either, once you are out of the pool
  • In certain cases it may decelerate labor
  • They are possibly not for the highly particular as it can get little muddled
  • In case of emergencies you might have to come out of the pool
  • You can stay in the pool even for your third stage of labor (delivering the placenta) but your doctor may recommend to get out of the pool if there are any issues of blood loss
  • They are not correct for everyone
What situations are not ideal for water birth:
  • If your baby is breech
  • If you have medical problems like heart disease or diabetes or you have a maternal infection or you have been experiencing excessive bleeding
  • If you have herpes
  • If there is multiple pregnancy
  • In case of premature deliveries
  • If there is severe meconium
  • If you have pre-eclampsia or toxaemia
  • If your labor is being induced
  • If earlier, you had C-section

So, consult your doctor before you actually plan to have water birth and also find out whether or not your hospital provides water birth facility.

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1 Comment

  1. Dr. Sandeep
    Dr. Sandeep May 11, 10:02


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