Here's Everything You Need To Know About Water Birthing

Mallika Jhaveri , 01 Nov 2020
Pregnant woman having natural birth with husband in tub of water by Sophia V | www.shutterstock.com
Pregnant woman having a natural birth with husband in a tub of water by Sophia V | www.shutterstock.com

Millions of women bring new life into this world every day and it is absolutely magical. However, despite all the magic, it is also uncomfortable and in many cases, extremely painful. Ask any mother, labour is no joke. And no boys, it’s certainly not like ‘getting kicked between your legs’ (not even close). To make this process more comfortable, women have started considering water birthing. We recently had a question on water births on Malini’s Girl Tribe on Facebook and thought we should explore it further.

According to a study, water birth is when a person remains in the water during the pushing phase and the actual birth of the baby. The baby is then brought to the surface of the water after he or she is born. To put it simply, giving birth to your baby while submerged in a pool of water. In most cases, the pool is an inflatable tub of sorts. This practice has been followed by many women, including actor Kalki Koechlin.

Pregnant woman preparing for childbirth in bathtub by Robuart| www.shutterstock.com
Pregnant woman preparing for childbirth in bathtub by Robuart | www.shutterstock.com

Is having a water birth safe?

Absolutely! Evidence from the Cochrane Review suggests that water births reduced the pain, time in labour and amount of epidural needed by the mothers. It didn’t show any evidence of increased risk or complications either. If the mother and child have no previous complications, water birthing can be a safe and relaxing experience for them.

Many women worry about their baby not being able to breathe underwater, but that is not the case. Research proves that when the baby is born in the water, he/she is still under the influence of the mother’s hormones and the primary source of oxygen is the umbilical cord. So no, the baby will not drown or suffocate during birth.

What are the benefits of water birth?

According to an article by the Sita Ram Bhatia Institute of Science and Research, there are multiple benefits of giving birth in water:

  • It reduces pain. This is partly due to the soothing effect water has on the nerve endings in our lower back region. Women feel less uncomfortable and the need to use epidurals and other pain relief medicines are reduced.
  • It is more relaxing as women feel private and safe. When this happens, mothers release ‘feel-good hormones’ like oxytocin, that make delivery easier.
  • The sense of weightlessness in water makes it good for the mother. Water makes the mother’s body more buoyant and hence there is less pressure on her uterus. She can also change her position and move about more freely. When an actual child is being taken out of you, this definitely helps.
  • It reduces labour! (and that is a true WIN)
  • It benefits the baby, too. The baby goes from the womb straight into the water, which is more relaxing for the baby. The transition is seamless and the trauma faced by the baby is also reduced.

You can read more about the benefits here!

Alternative birth method in pool by NTL Studio | www.shutterstock.com
Alternative birth method in pool by NTL Studio | www.shutterstock.com

What are the risks involved in water birth?

While water birthing has proven benefits, there are a few risks involved, as well. However, these are proven to be quite unlikely. According to an article by Pristyn Care, the risks of water birthing are:

  • The umbilical cord may be twisted, resulting in water inhalation for the baby.
  • If the water in the tub is infected, it may harm the mother and baby.
  • The body temperature of the baby may vary if born in water.
  • Too much bleeding in the water birthing tub can be risky for the mother and the baby.

Who should not have a water birth?

While this decision should be made by you and your doctor and under medical advice, there are a few red flag medical conditions that could make water births a bad option for you. According to an article by Baby Center, the following medical conditions are risky for water birthing:

  • High blood pressure
  • Pre-eclampsia (which is high blood pressure and protein in your urine)
  • Epilepsy
  • You are in induced labour
  • You have active vaginal sores

Again, the risks are based on medical articles and not meant to be a decision-maker. Please consult your doctor before making any decisions.

Midwife helping a woman give birth in a pool by Ken Tackett | www.shutterstock.com
Midwife helping a woman give birth in a pool by Ken Tackett | www.shutterstock.com

Water birthing is more than a social media trend, and its benefits have been coming to light. In India, awareness for water births is increasing and more women are considering it in lieu of hospital birth. Whether you’re opting for a water birth, home birth or hospital birth, you are still bringing a life into this world and it is an absolute miracle.

What are your views on water births? Tell us in the comments below!

Join Malini’s Girl Tribe on Facebook and Instagram for more such conversations!

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