What is a water birth?
A water birth is essentially birthing in the water. You may choose to have your water birth in a tub or a birthing bath at home, in a hospital or in a birthing centre. The choice is only limited to the facilities available to you in your area.
Is a water birth safe?
Water births have become increasingly popular in recent years with women choosing to give birth in water. It is recommended that all water births be supervised by a health care professional, whether it be a midwife or a doctor, to help ensure that the environment, water temperature and the welfare of the mother and child are safe at all times. The water should be warm and not hot, so a hot tub is out of the question. A recommend temperature is 97F. If the water is too hot it can dehydrate and overheat both mother and baby, which could lead to
complications during birth. Like most births there are some risks involved, however, it is important to remember that these risks are rare and do not happen often.
– If the baby is stressed and entangled in his umbilical cord he could gasp for air before reaching the surface of the water and inhale water.
– The baby’s umbilical will continue to feed him oxygen until he takes his first breath. Should the cord snap before the baby reaches the surface of the water, he could gasp and inhale water.
– Infections can be transmitted in warm water. So a mother can pass on an infection to her baby.
Why choose a water birth?
A water birth is the perfect choice for a woman who wants to have a natural/calm birth without the aid of drugs or gas.
– The warm water will help to speed up the labour process
– She is less likely to need/ want drugs or pain relief as the water acts as a natural soother
– The warm water increases her energy levels, which helps her push her baby out efficiently
– The water helps to ease the stress of the labour on the baby. The baby has just spent the last 9 months in an amniotic fluid sac. The transition from water to water is a gentler process for baby.
– The warm water is soothing and relaxing on her body
– The warm water can help to reduce stress levels and anxiety
– The water causes the perineum to become more elastic and relaxed, which can result in less tearing
– The water creates buoyancy, which allows for ease of movement when changing positions
– Can help to reduce high blood pressure.
When is a water birth not a suitable choice?
It is always a good idea to discuss your birthing plans with your health care provider first before embarking
on the preparation process, as a water birth is recommended for women who have no history of complications or illness, which could be deemed as dangerous in a water birth situation.
Water births are not recommended for women who:
– Are having a multiple birth i.e. Twins, triplets etc.
– If the baby is in a breech position
– If the woman has Toxemia or Preeclampsia
– If the woman has been diagnosed with excessive bleeding or a maternal infection
– If the woman has herpes. Herpes can be easily transferred in water and could be passed onto the baby.
How do I prepare for a water birth?
– Firstly check with your health care provider to see if you are a suitable candidate.
– Discuss the process with your health care provider to make sure you understand the procedure and that it is the right choice for you
– Scope out the facilities available to you, to see if a water birth is available in hospital or if you would like to have baby at home?
– Write your birth plan
– Purchase appropriate attire should you want to cover up in the tub
– Do your research! Read up on water births so that you know what to expect. Remember everybody’s experiences are different so do not get too caught up in the details.
I have two boys and I have experienced two very different types of births. The first was a water birth with my son Ethan and the second was a regular hospital bed delivery with my youngest son Carter. I was unable to have a water birth with Carter due to complications during the birthing process, which eventuated during the labour process..
I love warm water, so it seemed like the perfect choice for me.
It was a beautiful, calming experience that I look back fondly on. I can honestly say, that at no point did I feel as though I needed to take drugs or gas to get me through it. The warm water gently supported my body while I focused on birthing my child. The process was surprisingly quick and gentle for both my son and I. I would totally recommend it.
About the author
Like many women out there, Tracey Montford is an exceptional multi-tasker! Apart from steering a global business, managing 2 young boys and keeping the clan clean and fed, Tracey still finds time to provide creative inspiration and direction to the exceptional designs of Cake Maternity. From the branding, presentation and delivery, creativity is a big part of what Tracey does so naturally and effectively.
Find out more at https://uk.cakematernity.com or catch up with her on social @cakematernity.
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