Water birth delivery: The most natural form of normal birth
What would be your first assumption if we ask to think about childbirth? Like most of us, your thoughts will likely be about the process of labour and delivery and the excruciating pain attached to it. However, what if we tell you that there are ways to lessen the intensity of this searing pain? Water birth delivery is one such delivery alternative for women.
Waterbirth delivery is a traditional scientifically-backed method that eases the pain for the mother and offers a smooth transition for the baby.
In this article, Dr Deepika Aggarwal, a leading obstetrician and water birthing expert, will tell us everything we need to know about what is water birth delivery and what is it like giving birth in water.
What is water birth delivery?
Water birth delivery is gaining wide popularity in metro cities. Despite the recent fame, the practice of giving birth in delivery dates back nearly 200 years ago. The first incident is believed to have happened in 1803 in France when a woman who was in labour for over 48 hours decided to enter a bath upon her physician’s advise. Later, water birthing method was used as she gave birth to her child without any complications.
Water birthing method is a birthing option in which you spend some part of your labour or delivery (or both) submerged in water. This technique can be applied in a tub or pool filled partially with warm water.
Water birth process is a safe way of welcoming your baby in this world, under strict supervision of a qualified expert and nursing team.
What are the benefits of water birth Delivery?
Water birth process is not a widely understood concept because of the misconceptions or fears associated with it. Nonetheless, the benefits of water birth overweigh these misconceptions.
There are various benefits of water birth that make it a preferred birthing option for women.
- Relaxation benefits: One of the primary benefits of water birth is the satisfaction it gives to the mother which is known to reduce fetal complications. Submerging a part of your body in warm water will help soothe your tense nerves and muscles. This calming effect will further reduce your anxiety. Thereby, water birthing provides you with higher levels of ease, making it the rest of the process easier for you.
- Natural pain relief: Warm water used during water birthing acts as a natural pain reliever. Being submerged in water can help in lowering your blood pressure levels. As discussed above, warm water also soothes your nerves making me you less anxious. Due to which your body releases a hormone known as endorphin that further lessens the severity of the pain.
- Sense of control: When you are in the water, your body is supported by its buoyancy. This effect offers the flexibility to move freely. Moreover, gravity under water allows your baby to move closer to the birth canal offering you a greater sense of control and ease.
- Shortens the duration of labour: Studies have shown the submersion in warm water during the first stage of labour can help in reducing the time of labour. However, your healthcare provider will analyse your health before suggesting when you should immerse in water.
- Lesser complications: It has been proved that women who choose to give birth in water experience lesser cases of stress incontinence. Being in water also supports your perineal stretch and reduces the risk of injury while the baby is born. If you are a candidate for cesarean section, immersion in water helps in reducing the time needed for you to rush to surgery.
- Easy transition for the baby In your womb, your baby is surrounded and kept under the protection of amniotic fluid. In the water birthing process, the baby arrives in a familiar place of warmth and water. The process of birthing also eases for the child in this option.
All these factors combined signify why is water birth good for you and your baby.
Are you a candidate for water birth in India?
Similar to other birthing options, medicinal factors are the deciding points for whether or not you are eligible to give birth in water.
You can opt for water birthing if you have:
- A low-risk pregnancy of 37 weeks
- No pre-existing medical conditions
- Single pregnancy
- Fetus with a normal heart rate
You may not be a candidate for water birthing if you have:
- A previous case of high-risk pregnancy
- Chronic medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, herpes
- Pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes
- Baby in the breech position (when the baby’s bottom or feet are first)
- Multiple pregnancies
- Preterm labour
- Need for continuous electronic monitoring
If you have any of the above complications, you will be advised not to choose water birthing.
What are the water birth risks?
After you gain an understanding of what is water birth, you may find yourself wondering is water birth safe for you and your baby? Waterbirth is a relatively safe birthing option if and when performed with the guidance of verified medical experts at a natural water birthing centre.
However, despite its numerous advantages, there are also substantial water birth risks associated with the process.
Some common risks of water birthing process include:
1. Risk of drowning: Warm water gives a familiar environment of amniotic fluid to the newborn. In theory, the child takes his first breath after he comes out of the water and in the air. However, if the baby breathes when he submerged, he may be exposed to various complications including the risk of drowning.
Nonetheless, it is highly unlikely to happen. It is because babies do not breathe when they in the womb. They receive oxygen from their mother through the placenta. During water birthing, their bodies behave similarly in the warm water and only breathe when they out in the air. In this process, the newborn comes from water (amniotic fluid in the womb) to water and so his lungs are not open yet.
2. Risk of pneumonia: There is a minimal risk of the child contracting Legionnaires’ Disease which is a type of bacterial pneumonia.
Medical experts take necessary precautionary measures to avoid any complication to the mother and the child. If you are still wondering is water birth safe, then the answer is yes (under the supervision of qualified medical professionals).
Water birth vs normal delivery: which is better?
While both methods are effective, safe and reliable techniques for childbirth, water birth has more advantages than normal delivery. As discussed above, the amount and duration of labour pain that a mother has to experience can be significantly reduced through water birthing. While on the other hand, normal delivery makes you dependent on medicinal pain relievers. Hence, water birthing is a more natural form of delivery.
However, it should be noted that both of these birthing processes have their own pros and cons. Clinical requirements and the mother’s gestational health is the final indicator of the type of method used.
Is it possible to have water birth after C section?
Yes, it is possible to have a healthy water birth after C section. Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is safe, reduces the risk of complications and has a lesser recovery time. The requirements will almost be the same as regular water birthing. You should always consult an experienced water birthing expert and choose a natural water birthing centre.
If you have had a C-section in your previous pregnancy, you should discuss this with your obstetrician while planning future childbirth options.
The concluding note
Water birth delivery is no longer a birthing option just for celebrities. You can access the advantages of the most natural form of childbirth at the CK Birla Hospital, the only hospital that offers water birth in North India.
For more information on birthing options, book an appointment with Dr Deepika Aggarwal, leading expert for delivery in water in India, at the CK Birla Hospital.
Ques: Is water birth safe?
Yes, water birth is a safe and reliable birthing option, if carried out under the guidance of a verified medical professional.
Ques: Which is the best centre for water birth in India?
The CK Birla Hospital Gurgaon is the best centre for water birth in India. It is, in fact, the only centre offering water birth services in the entire northern part of India.
Ques: Can I have a water birth after C section?
Yes, vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) through water birthing is possible.
Ques: Do water births hurt less?
Yes, one of the advantages of water births is that it reduces the severity of labour pains.
Ques: Can you still have an epidural with water birth?
No, you cannot have an epidural (anaesthesia injection) in water.
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