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Is Water Birth For You?

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Water birth is becoming increasingly popular birthing method among expectant moms today. While this is a gentler birthing process for you and your baby, it’s important to be aware of what is okay and not okay when you decide to go this route. Here are the benefits and risks you can expect to help you decide if it is for you.

What are the benefits of water birth?

For the mother:

  • The warm water is relaxing, soothing and comforting
  •  Buoyancy improves blood circulation and more efficient uterine contractions, resulting to lesser pain for the mother and more oxygen for the baby
  • Immersing in water helps manage high blood pressure caused by excessive use of energy an anxiety
  • The water helps to make the perineum more relaxed and flexible, reducing severe tearing and the need for more stitches after child birth
  • Since it is easier for the mother to relax physically, it’s also easier to relax mentally with better ability to focus on the birthing process

For the baby:

  • The water mimics the baby’s environment inside the amniotic sac
  • It eases the stress caused by giving birth, increasing sense of security and reassurance

What are the risks of water birth?

Since babies do not breathe in the amniotic sac, in theory, your baby should not start breathing until he is out in the air. However, many health professionals say it’s still dangerous to give birth in the water.

If the baby happens to breathe while submerged in water, it can cause potentially severe health complications, including drowning, meconium aspiration and a critical type of bacterial pneumonia.

Because of these risks associated during the final stage of delivery, health providers say that it is okay to labor in the water, but the actual delivery on the baby should be in a traditional birthing setting.

When not to have water birth?

  • If you are diagnosed with Herpes. Since Herpes can transfer in water, water birthing should not be done to avoid passing the virus from the mother to the baby.
  • If your baby is in breech position. Although there are presentations of water birthing done with the baby’s feet or bottom first, you need to discuss this with your maternity care provider..
  • If you have been diagnosed with maternal infection or excessive bleeding.
  • If you’re giving birth to multiple babies. The health of twins (triplets, quadruplets or more) is quite sensitive since they have divided all the nutrition you were taking in while they were inside the womb. Untraditional way of delivery may only cause too much stress for each of your babies.
  • If you’re having premature baby. If you will give birth much earlier than expected, water birth isn’t the right method for you.

If you are contemplating whether you can go on a water birth, your doctor and maternity care provider will help you choose the best birthing method for you.

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