These days, a variety of choices for giving birth are now available to women. Depending on your preferences and the health of you and your baby, you may opt to give birth at a hospital, a birthing center, or at home. You may have even heard about this “natural” water birth delivery. But what exactly is water birth, and is it safe? Find out in this article.
What’s a Water Birth?
Water birth is the process of giving birth in a birth pool filled with warm water. During this process, women may choose to labor in the water and get out for delivery. However, they may also decide to stay in the water for both labor and delivery as well. A water birth usually takes place in a birthing center, at home, or in a hospital, with the assistance of a midwife or an obstetrician.
The theory behind this is that, because the baby has previously been in the amniotic fluid sac for nine months, delivering in a similar environment is gentler for the infant and less stressful for the mother.
What are the Benefits of Water Birth?
Water births have grown in popularity over the last few decades. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which sets guidelines for pregnancy and childbirth care in the U.S., although there are recognizable certain benefits of water birth, they do not suggest laboring in water beyond the first stage of labor, when the cervix is completely dilated. They also advise against delivering in water.
According to ACOG, immersion in water during the early stage of labor may assist in lessening the duration of labor. Laboring in the water may also reduce your need for epidurals or other forms of spinal pain management. Furthermore, women who have had water birth delivery also report higher birth satisfaction. However, larger-scale studies are needed to confirm these benefits.
Benefits for Mother:
- Warm water is soothing, reassuring, and calming.
- Water has been demonstrated to enhance the woman's energy in the final stages of labor.
- Buoyancy reduces a mother's body weight, allowing free mobility and new positioning.
- Buoyancy encourages more effective uterine contractions and enhanced blood circulation, which results in greater uterine muscle oxygenation, less discomfort for the mother, and more oxygen for the baby.
- Immersion in water often aids in the reduction of high blood pressure induced by anxiety
- The water appears to lower stress hormones, allowing the mother's body to release endorphins, which act as pain relievers.
- Water makes the perineum more elastic and relaxed, lowering the likelihood and severity of tearing and the necessity for an episiotomy and sutures.
- As the laboring mother relaxes physically, she is able to relax mentally, allowing her to concentrate more on the delivery process.
- Water can lessen inhibitions, anxiety, and fears because it provides a greater sense of privacy.
Benefits for Baby:
- It simulates the amniotic sac's environment.
- Reduces birth-related stress, boosting reassurance and a sense of security.
What are the risks of water birth?
Is water birth safe? Here are a few of the rare problems that may arise while water birthing:
- You or your baby may get an infection.
- The umbilical cord may snap before your baby emerges out of the water.
- Your baby’s body temperature may be too high or too low.
- Your baby may inhale bath water
- Your baby may experience seizures or not be able to breathe.
Water births themselves are not significantly more dangerous than conventional birth options out of water. Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize the risks that may come with the process though they may rarely occur.
Are You a Good Candidate for a Water Birth?
An uncomplicated pregnancy- low blood pressure, over 37 weeks gestation, the baby with its head down towards the cervix, etc. is required for a water birth. You should not attempt it if:
- You are either under the age of 17 or over the age of 35.
- You are suffering from complications such as preeclampsia or diabetes.
- You are expecting twins or multiples.
- The baby is in the breech position.
- The baby is premature.
- You’re expecting a really big baby.
- You must be constantly monitored, which cannot be done in the tub.
- You've got an infection.
Of course, you should always consult with your doctor to fully understand the risks and realities of your options. Water birth delivery is a very personal decision that needs much consideration and research for you and your baby.
Water Birth in the Philippines
You may have your baby delivered at the comfort of your own home, as long as there is room for a birthing pool. There are a handful of trusted midwives and doctors all over the country that practice and offer water birthing at home. However, you may want to think about having it in one of the certified birthing facilities or hospitals that provide this sort of delivery.
In Metro Manila, there are only two water birth hospitals that offer options for expecting mother who wants a new and more natural delivery experience:
- · St. Luke's Global City
- · Makati Medical Clinic Water Immersion Facility for Labor and Delivery
Water Birth Costs
A water birth delivery and room at the Makati Medical Clinic Water Immersion Facility for Labor and Delivery costs roughly the same as a normal simultaneous delivery in a birthing suite, around P100,000 to P120,000. Yes, it costs just as much as the money you'd normally shell out for an anesthesiologist, pain medication, needles, etc. However, this estimate does not account for any potential difficulties that may arise during the process. The birthing mother will be under the care of doctors and nurses at Makati Medical Center, as well as surgery and operating room facilities. In addition, multi-specialty physicians are on call in case of an emergency.
Home-birth costs, however, may range depending on your location but are generally more affordable than hospital costs. Before agreeing to avail the services of a midwife, request a full breakdown of the expected costs and when payment is due.
For more information about water births, consider talking with an obstetrician or midwife to learn more about water births in your specific location. You can also talk to your friends or family members who have had previous water birth deliveries to find out more about their experiences. What matters most is that you select a birthing plan that’s right for both you and your baby.