Giving birth in water is becoming a very popular choice among couples who choose a natural home birth or even a hospital birth.
Unassisted home birth is also on the rise and many couples prefer using a birthing pool to deliver their babies. If you are thinking of giving birth in water, talk to your midwife and get as much support as you can from other moms who have done it before.
Choosing A Water Birth
Women who choose water birth are very successful in giving birth naturally. This is because giving birth in water empowers women and gives them a sense of connection with their baby through a more gently and natural birthing process.
How Long Does They Baby Stay In The Water?
The baby is born in the water and stays in there for a very short period of time. The midwife will assist you and bring the baby out of the water as soon as the baby is born. This will take less than ten seconds. When the baby is born, the placenta supports the baby by delivering oxygen while the baby is born in water as he is still attached to his mother.
I personally think that the baby should not be staying in the water for too long because there is no guarantee that the umbilical cord will continue to pulsate and continue to deliver oxygen for too long. Also, the placenta is often delivered quickly right after the birth.
When To Get Into The Water
Many women use a labor pool and you can get into it whenever you feel the need to. Many practitioners recommend getting in the water when you are in active labor, but getting into warm water when labor start is also a good idea because if it is real labor the contractions will get stronger.
If instead it is false labor, they will subside. Using water to test if you are in labor is the best way! Warm water also helps speed up the cervix dilatation process. Usually within one hour of getting into a warm bath, you will know if the contractions are well established.
Water birth or the use of a water bath can definitely speed up early labor.
Giving birth in water helps labor in many ways, most importantly, the warmth of the water helps you relax and release less adrenaline hormone during labor. Adrenaline is also known as stress hormone that is produced when you are in pain, stressed and fearful. Adrenaline decreases the intensity of the contraction and can even stall labor.
Being in water during birth will decrease stress hormone production and increase the production of oxytocin hormone, which stimulates your uterus to contract more rhythmically, shortening your active labor stage.
When you are more relaxed, your body will produce endorphins, which are hormones that make you mentally stronger, more confident and happier.
A study conducted at the University of Western Sydney, School of Nursing and Midwifery in Australia, concluded that "water birth provides advantages over the birth stool for maternal outcomes of major perineal trauma and postpartum haemorrhage." (Midwifery. 2012 Aug 9.)
Benefits Of Giving a birth In Water For Mom
1. Warmth water will give you a relaxing effect, helping you through your labor and cope with the pain of contractions.
2. The warmth of the water strengthens your contractions, helping your labor move along and reach the active stage faster. A long labor can be too stressful for the baby and too tiring for you.
3. In water you will feel more relaxed, helping you stay calmer and more focus during your contractions as you breathe deeply.
4. The buoyancy of the water gives you support and you feel less awkward, you will move with more ease and find a comfortable position during each contraction.
5. The birthing pool is a very private area for you to be, allowing access to your birth attendant, midwife and partner. It is easier to push the baby out into the water then outside.
Benefits Of giving Birth In Water For Baby
1. Your baby will feel the transition from the amniotic sac into the air much easier if it goes through water first. This is possible less traumatic for a newborn baby.
2. The warm water of the birthing pool will help baby stay relaxed and calmed as you pick your baby up and place him or her on your tummy.
3. Your baby will not breathe under water. Baby's first breath is stimulated by contact with air due to temperature change.
Risks Associated With Giving Birth In Water
1. Lack of oxygen underwater
2. Baby may swallow water
3. Infections from contaminated water
The above risks can be diminished by boiling you birth water or using filtered water only and avoiding tap water. Baby is unlikely to stay under water for long, so the problem of drinking water is unlikely.
You will be guided to catch your baby in such a way the the baby will not swallow water. Your midwife is training in water birth will train you and tell you all your options.
Birth Positions in Water
Kneeling Birthing Position:
Make sure your knees are lower than your hips to help baby descend into your pelvis during birth.
Lunge Birthing Position:
Keep one knee up and one knee down. This can be a good position to give birth as you can see the baby's head when crowning.
All fours Birthing Position:
This can be a good position to give birth in water, with a birth attendant catching the baby.
Sitting Birthing Position:
Sitting on the birthing pool floor while leaning on the edge of the pool can help deliver a larger baby.
Pushing The Baby Out
When you are in water you will not need to posh the baby out, the baby will simply come out naturally as you breathe gently through your contractions. This will prevent tearing and perineal trauma and haemorrhaging.
Catching The Baby
Most birthing moms who chose a water birth are able to catch the baby on their own.
When Giving a birth In Water Is Not Recommended
There are situations where water birth is not possible or when you will be advised to birth the baby in air and not in water.
1. You are Sterp B positive that can contaminate the baby.
2. You have pregnancy complications like preeclampsia.
3. You have herpes that can contaminate the baby.
4. You are not full term or at least 37 weeks pregnant.
These are circumstances when you may be asked to leave the pool during birth:
1. Your midwife notice a problem with your baby 's heartbeat.
2. You need to move around or change position.
3. You are bleeding during labor.
4. Your labor stalls.
5. Your blood pressure increases.
6. Your baby passes meconium before birth. Meconium is noticed in the water.
7. You feel dizzy or weak.
Water birth is an amazing experience, even if emergencies do arise, but for the most part women who give birth in water will want to do it again for subsequent births and recommended to their friends.
If you chose to give birth in water, I hope you have and amazing experience and a very easy birth.