Water birthing is the latest fad amongst labouring women who choose to birth the natural way. The mother gives birth to a baby in a tub, which is full of warm water. The warmth of the water is said to ease the labour pains and cramps and make birthing easier for the mother.
Some mothers, however, get out just before the actual delivery. The idea behind water birthing is that it mimics the baby’s natural environment in the womb and is gentler on the baby. Let us now see some of the pros and cons of a water birth.
Pros Of Water Birthing
The warm and relaxing environment of the tub is said to ease the labour contractions in the mother and reduce pain. This makes the whole ordeal of labour easier to bear. Since mothers tend to get tense during labour, the warm water is infinitely more relaxing and can actually soothe the mother’s nerves.
Privacy and Calm
The whole atmosphere of water birthing is very relaxing and ensures complete privacy of the mother. The lights in the rooms are dimmed and the mother can enjoy the warm, watery sensations of the tub. It induces calm and the mother is able to breathe slowly which makes it easier for the mother to cope with the labour.
The Added Advantage of Buoyancy
The added advantage of buoyancy makes it easier for the mother to cope with the weight of the baby while she is labouring. The water buoyancy makes labour lighter. Some women say that they barely feel the pain. In order to facilitate this, it is very important to have your knees lower than your hips.
The warm water is mildly therapeutic and just as you would ease pain with a hot water bottle, the water in the tub helps to diminish pain. You can also take some mild painkillers after consulting with your doctor to ease the pain.
Sitting in an upright position with your knees below your hips can help you push your baby out faster. The baby also comes out in a familiar and moist environment, which is good for him/her.
Cons Of Water Birthing
There are also some definite disadvantages of birthing in water. They are as follows.
The incidence of infection is very high in a water birth. This is especially true when you push the baby out. The baby might catch an infection with an expelled bowel movement. However, most hospitals maintain very high standards of hygiene and cleanliness during and after a water birth.
The whole process of birthing in water may appear awkward and uncomfortable for some women, as it is a relatively newer concept. Seeing the nurse or midwife scoop out debris from the tub may also be very embarrassing.
Very little Pain Relief
While warm water has its advantages, the pain is not entirely negligible. In fact, a vast majority of women continue to experience a lot of pain and may eventually ask for an epidural.
In case of emergencies
Water births become null and void in case of an emergency complication where you are required to get out of the pool. This may be done if the baby’s heartbeat is to be monitored or you start to bleed uncontrollably.
Photo credit: Anthropologyofwater.com/2010_10_01_archive.html