Waterbirth is frequently a desire of future moms. However, this option requires careful medical monitoring and good preparation for childbirth. Here are the basics of this less painful childbirth and with more potential complications due to poor monitoring of the fetus.
What does waterbirth involve?
When we talk about “water birth” we mean childbirth in an aquatic environment. However, there are two different situations:
- The future mother may remain in the water for only part of her birth. Some maternity hospitals offer birthing tubs or “expansion tubs” with water heated to 37°C. The expectant mother can stay in this bath for as long as she needs but will leave it when the baby start pushing and is ready to be born.
- The future mother experiences her labor in the water from the beginning to the end, until the final push and birth of the baby.
This type of delivery is reserved for pregnancies without complications and for healthy pregnant women. The expectant mother cannot receive an epidural in this case. Water births also require special training for the midwives involved, as the manipulations in the water are different, especially during the expulsion phase.
Water birth: advantages for the mother
Water has a well-known effect: it relaxes! Therefore, the pain of childbirth is reduced. The muscles also relax when they meet water. In addition to its soothing properties, water speeds up childbirth by relaxing the tissues of the body. The cervix dilates faster, and the risk of episiotomy and tearing is reduced. Episiotomies are only necessary in 10% of cases, instead of the usual 75% for a first delivery. Delivery takes place in a calm atmosphere and a familiar environment for the baby.
The benefits of water birth for the baby:
In addition to the mother, water birth appears to be beneficial for the baby itself. First, it is milder: the newborn baby is in water at 37°C, which reminds it of the amniotic fluid in which it has been for nine months. There is therefore no sudden change in its condition. Born completely relaxed, it can stretch its limbs and open its eyes underwater before slowly rising to the surface.
Midwives who perform this type of birth talk about the obvious differences compared to a baby who is born out of the water. The child is much calmer. Finally, the contact of the mother’s skin with that of the baby is facilitated and favored from the moment of its arrival.
Contraindications to water birth
A percentage of 85% of women meet the requirements for giving birth in water, but this method should be avoided in those cases that:
- The mother has pathologies such as diabetes, renal, pulmonary, cardiac pathologies, manifested preeclampsia.
- She has hypersensitivity or is not comfortable in water.
- She feels a general fatigue during childbirth
- She is a carrier of AIDS, hepatitis B or any other infectious disease
- She needs an epidural for any reason
- She has abnormal blood loss
- She has experienced placenta previa
- Shows of prematurity
- There is inadequate fetal heart monitoring
- That Ileus appears
- That the baby does not descend properly
- That there is fetal-pelvic malrotation
- When a significant fetal anomaly has been detected
- It is a long baby at risk of shoulder dystocia.
Substantial preparation for water birth is done from the fifth month of pregnancy. Feel free to contact your doctor for more information about water birth.