A glimpse into pros and cons of water birth

Heard about doulas or about water birth? Delivering a baby inside water has been taken up by a number of hospitals and is racing fast on the “delivery” popularity charts. Water birth is listed under alternative birthing methods and there is a speculation on “are water births safe?” Let’s give you some more details on this topic before you decide to give a nod for water birth.

The procedure of water birth

Water birth literally means giving birth to a baby in a water tub at a hospital or a well equipped birthing centre. The temperature of the water is maintained to a certain level for the birth though the actual act can take place in any pool of water. As soon as the labor pains start the mother-to-be is made to relax in water .

The actual delivery may take place in the water or outside and this decision is of the parents though the care and medical treatment that is bestowed on the mom is same as that rendered on the hospital bed. The medications that are needed for the mother are administered through an IV while the mother lies, waist deep, in the water. To monitor the child’s heartbeat an underwater Doppler device is attached and the baby is taken out of water immediately after delivery by the nurse or the mid wife.

Who should opt for a water birth?

Get yourself checked thoroughly for complications in pregnancy like toxemia. In toxemia the bloodstream is infected by bacteria and may pose as a complication during the birthing process and also may be detrimental for the safety of the child. In cases like toxemia or preeclampsia it’s better to avoid giving the nod for a water birth.

Women with excessive bleeding or other infections should also avoid water birth.

If the mother has a medical condition like herpes, the birth in water may pass it to the baby because of the water medium.
Water birth is not the answer if the mother is fully pregnant or has carried the child post 39 weeks. Get a proper consult from a gynecologist before agreeing to water birth in such a case.

Water birth may not be the ideal answer in case of a twin pregnancy, multiple births, or a breech complication. This method of delivering a baby is still under research. Some studies point out that the underwater birth could be risky for newly born babies, while the others say that this is as safe as a bed birth.

Reasons to opt out for water birth

Nowadays, many physicians strongly believe that water birth can be a very soothing and natural environment for the birth of the baby. The women tend to be destressed and the water balms the fears giving the woman a feeling that she can control the baby’s birth.

The blood flow improves and the muscles of the mummy-to-be relax, when she sits in the water. The water gives the mother buoyancy and makes her feel much lighter as she awaits the delivery to take place.

The experts insist that the new baby and the mother are less stressed if they go through a water birth. The lapping water relaxes the mother and her total focus shifts from the pain she experiences to the actual birth.

They say that the vaginal tearing is also tapered down and this results in lesser or no stitches after birth.

The first stage of labor is lessened and the mother can avoid the anesthesia during a water birth.

Risk for the baby

The basic risks that one faces in a water birth are:

1) Contaminated water may cause serious infections in the new born baby
2) The baby may end up swallowing a lot of water that can cause electrolyte problems
3) The baby may face a lack of proper oxygen under the water and this can cause injury to the brain.

This is just a glimpse into water birth. MedGuru will soon bring more information on this latest method of giving birth to a child.

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