You may not want to take the most traditional route to deliver your baby.
Many mothers go through all the different options that are available to them: Giving birth in a hospital, giving birth at home, and even giving birth in water.
That’s right, a water birth! When you think about it, it only makes sense that your baby would be born into a bathing tub filled with water, after being in your womb surrounded by amniotic fluid for 9 months.
It’s important to know that you have many options, but it’s even more important that you make the right decision for you. Learn as much as you can about labor and delivery so that you can be well informed when making the choice of how you want to give birth.
Here’s everything you need to know about a water birth experience!
What Is A Water Birth?
A water birth is when a woman spends part of all of her delivery in a birthing pool filled with warm water. It’s usually done in the comfort of your own home or at a birthing center. This kind of labor and birth is usually assisted by either a midwife or an OB-GYN.
Women who usually choose to have a water birth typically prefer a natural childbirth, which means they choose not to take any medication or epidurals throughout the process.
Benefits Of Water Birth
A water birth sounds special and it may be something you’re interested in. In fact, water births are most definitely on the rise, as more and more mothers actually prefer giving birth this way.
Let’s get into the real benefits of having a water birth:
- Pain relief during labor due to the buoyancy of the water
- Decreased need for medication and anesthesia
- The duration of your labor decreases
- Ability to give birth in the comfort of your own home
- Gives you a sense of control over your body and birth
- A sense of relaxation that comes from being in the water
- Regulates intensity of the contractions
- Reduces the severity of vaginal tearing
You may wonder how giving birth could be less painful when it’s done in water. Well, it may clear things up when you think about how to relieve the pain that comes from being on your period.
Most women say that taking a hot bath or using a heat pad is just the thing that helps to regulate menstrual cramps -- This is very eye opening for most women when thinking about a water birth.
Risks Of Water Birth
If you’re now thinking that a water birth is the way to go for you, it’s important to first think through some of the risks and complications that can arise from it. The safety of your baby and you as a mother, is the most important thing to consider.
Let’s get into the risks and complications of having a water birth:
- Baby can face serious complications from taking first breath under water, including drowning and meconium aspiration
- Babies born underwater could contract Legionnaires’ Disease (bacterial pneumonia)
- The potential harm of the water being exposed to feces
- Risk of infection which would arise if the baby swallows contaminated water
It's important to know that babies don’t actually breathe in utero. In fact, they take their first breath after they are delivered and reach the air. In most cases, the baby will not breath while he/she is immersed in the water. However, if this happens, it can lead to serious complications.
Planning For A Water Birth
If a water birth seems like the experience you want to have, it’s best to get approval from the hospital or birthing centre that you plan to deliver your baby at. This way, you can figure out what’s supplied to you and if you need to bring any of your own things.
Water temperature is an extremely important factor when committing to a water birth. Something that you should have handy is a thermometer, so that you can measure the water temperature. The water temperature should remain between 95 and 100 degrees - any higher, and your baby’s heart rate can potentially increase.
This may sound funny -- But keep some water close by. Not only should you have drinking water in your reach, but you should also have a damp cloth to help cool you off during labor.
Remember, you don’t have to be in the bathtub for the whole birth! You may want to do most of the pushing in water but then get up to do the final few pushes and catch the baby at the end of the delivery!
The Big Picture
Remember to consider all your options during your pregnancy journey. Make sure the health and safety of you and your baby is considered as the most important factor when making choices.
Finally saying hello to your baby while they’re in your arms will make all the thinking and decision-making worthwhile!