Is a Water Birth Right for You?
Probably the most intuitive and natural act that women are designed to do is to bring a beautiful baby into this world. However, even though giving birth to a child is the most fantastic experience a mother can have, it is still a great challenge for women to develop their confidence, trust in their intuition and let their maternal instincts be in control, especially today with all the pressures given by our modern world.
Water birthing is a common name given to the method of giving birth underwater. The birth itself does not have to occur underwater for the birth to be considered a water birth. Water is used as a tool in the labor and delivery process, and the method could still be considered a water birth.
The Benefits of Water Birth
The experts and mothers who experienced the birth of water pointed out the potential benefits of the birth of water:
- Hot water is soothing and helps mothers relax during the intense delivery process.
- Buoyancy in water makes mothers without weight, so they have more freedom of movement to work independently in different positions.
- The blood circulation tends to improve in the water, which facilitates contractions and enhances blood circulation to the baby.
- Babies are accustomed to sitting in the water because they have developed into amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
- As the blood flow increases, mothers have more energy to tackle labor.
- Water supplies usually require less medication to speed up labor and control pain.
- Birth by water helps to stabilize the blood pressure that occurs when the body is under stress.
- Mothers who labor in water have fewer stress hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine, and catecholamines that can harm the baby.
- Water also stimulates the release of natural pain relief by endorphins.
- Newborns tend to do better with less traumatic and less stressful births.
- Water brings about elasticity to the perineum and therefore reduces the tears.
- Mothers relax more emotionally and mentally when they are relaxed physically.
The Risks of Water Birth
The birth of water brings with it various risks that can make it more dangerous for mothers and babies. These include:
- If an emergency occurs, moving the mother from the pool to a bed or operating room would be a waste of time that could make a critical difference in the results for the mother and the baby.
- Although rare, water can enter the mother’s bloodstream and cause aspiration.
- The birth of water can cause an infection in your baby.
- Your baby’s temperature may become too cold or too hot at birth.
- Your baby can drown.
- If the umbilical cord is affected while the baby is in the genital canal, he can try to breathe and breathe water.
Also, the umbilical cord may rupture if the water is born if the baby is not carefully lifted. The birth of water makes it more difficult for the caregiver to look after the baby.
Other risks include:
- Trouble regulating baby’s body temperature
- Chance of umbilical cord damage
- Respiratory distress for baby
- Asphyxia and seizures
Claimed benefits for baby
- The birth process in itself is believed to be strenuous for the baby. Warm water is thought to resemble the atmosphere in the womb thus making the transition from the womb to the world less stressful.
- The umbilical cord has the opportunity to pulsate longer allowing the removal of damaged red blood cells and replacement of fresh, undamaged, red blood cells. This increases the transmission of fetal stem cells.
- The interaction between mother and baby is increased because the mother is more easily able to move and make eye contact with her baby.
- Baby’s first breath is warm and moist.
Claimed benefits for Mothers
- Reduce maternal tension
- Possible avoidance of episiotomy
- Promote relaxation
- Provide comfort and mobility
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce anxiety and stress
It is believed that when the mother is feeling less stress and anxiety, she is better able to focus on her labor. Pain inhibitors are released as she is better able to relax. This allows for a more positive birthing experience.
This also applies to women with pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, who have a disease or infection, whose baby is large or premature, who have multiples or whose babies are.
If you weigh the benefits and risks with your doctor, if you decide to continue with the administration of water, make sure that you and your baby are constantly monitored and that there is a backup plan as an emergency. Also, make sure that your suppliers help keep the water at the right temperature to reduce the risk of infection.
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