By Dr Ashwini Annam
Senior consultant in Obstetrician & Gynecologist
Published on 29/07/2022
Starting the journey of parenthood is one of the most memorable moments that people experience. Most mothers plan well and speak to their doctor in advance to establish the preferred delivery method.
Many women seeking a "natural childbirth," without medication or epidurals, choose water birth. Let’s understand the concept of water birth delivery!
What is water birth?
In water birth, the mother gives birth while she is submerged in water, usually in an inflatable or stationary tub. She can also choose to labor in the water and give birth outside of it. This may be a good option if you want the benefits of hydrotherapy. Check if your hospital allows women to labour in water.
Why water birth delivery?
Both the mother and the baby benefit from the concept of water birth delivery. It is said to be gentler for the infant to enter the world.
The warm water in the pool resembles the amniotic sac inside the mother. The infant who has matured and spent nine months of gestation in this amniotic sac finds it easier to enter the world through this method. Childbirth may be less stressful for the mother as well.
What are the benefits of water birth delivery?
Water birth delivery is yet another option for women. It facilitates pain relief and makes labour quicker. The warm water relaxes and comforts the stressed mother. However, the advantages of water birth are numerous. In several cases, the benefits of water birth delivery exceed the risks. Here are some water birth benefits for the mother and the child:
Benefits of water birth for the mother:
- Helps relieve labour and delivery pain: The warm water in the birthing tub can promote relaxation, boost blood supply to the uterine muscles and increase endorphin release.
- Reduces labour duration: The first stage of labour may be shortened by water birth, which reduces the labour duration by almost two hours.
- Controls uterine contractions: Because of the buoyancy of water, many labouring women find it easier to move around and change positions, facilitating a more comfortable
- Reduces blood pressure: Another benefit of water birth is that buoyancy promotes higher blood flow, which results in better uterine muscle oxygenation.
- Reduces anxiety and the severity of stress hormones: Compared to other delivery options, water birth has additional advantages that help reduce stress and anxiety.
Benefits of water birth for the baby:
- Comfortable entry into the world
- The environment resembles that of the amniotic sac
- Reduction in the stress of birth
- Increase in the child's sense of security
Things to keep in consideration
Water birth is linked to a variety of beliefs and myths. Busting the same myth is a safe practice, and babies born using this method are as healthy as those born using the traditional method. However, it should be noted that water birth is favourable only in cases of low-risk pregnancies. When the risks are significant, and complications such as high blood pressure, a history of caesarean section, Diabetes, premature delivery or even an underweight baby are present, both mother and baby require regular monitoring. This is impossible to do underwater. Additionally, water delivery is not an option if there are complications like placenta previa or vaginal bleeding. Furthermore, this procedure may not be practical when there are many births.
Although this method seems a good alternative, not everyone may benefit from it. Women who choose to have this procedure are scared by the procedure's risks, the water and the additional costs involved. Also, babies who give birth in water risk contracting an infection since even clean water can become contaminated with faeces and vaginal discharge.
Medical guidance is a must
Women who choose to give birth in water are more likely to have healthy natural births. Warm water reduces the likelihood of a vaginal tear or bleeding by relaxing the pelvic floor and smoothing the perineum. It's true that water birthing, a natural childbirth way, is a painless method of giving birth. It is also believed that this method lowers foetal distress. However, you should always seek medical advice for your unique pregnancy. It is vital to follow the doctor's recommendations and take the appropriate safety measures. In order to prevent the baby from swallowing water and to ensure that it is removed at the appropriate time, the procedure should be done in the presence of skilled and trained doctors only.Our skilled and experienced team will guide you through the miraculous journey of welcoming a healthy, gurgling baby into this world.