Water birth is becoming more and more popular. To facilitate the process of giving birth underwater, you need to understand the benefits and risks associated with this method.
Not long ago, if you were planning to give birth underwater, most likely doctors, colleagues and maybe even the elderly in your family would worry. But with many formal studies showing benefits for both mother and baby, this method of birth is no longer considered a “substitute.”
Why women give birth underwater is increasingly popular?
Having pain and then being able to have a baby in a water tank seems plausible, and there is a long list of documented benefits:
- The buoyancy of the water makes it easier for the woman to move during labor and freely changes posture during childbirth.
- The pressure on the abdomen decreases when the woman soaks in a water bath. The repulsive force of water increases the contractions effectively and helps the blood to flow better, which in turn provides additional oxygen to the muscles. It is thought to reduce maternal pain and provide supplemental oxygen to the baby.
- Floating in a water tank is very pleasant, which is thought to promote the release of hormones by the mother’s body, thus accelerating labor.
- Water creates an environment where women can act instinctively and have a sense of control.
- A Swiss study found that underwater babies had the lowest rates of use of systemic painkillers.
- In some studies, this method has been shown to enhance natural and healthy fertility, with minimal medical intervention.
- More natural breathing through air vapor is especially helpful for women with asthma as long as they have a private and protected space.
What to prepare when giving birth underwater?
Mom will take a dip in a water bath or a tub of water, with temperatures between 32 and 37 degrees Celsius, the temperature of the body’s primary temperature. Soaking in water during labor helps relieve cramping pain, especially lumbar pain. You can choose to give birth in water, although this requires extreme care to make sure your baby doesn’t inhale the water during the first breaths.
The tank needs to be deep enough for your entire abdomen to be submerged. And clean enough to drink! The water does not need to be sterilized, although the tub needs to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between births. Do not add salt or essential oils to the water.
Remember that if you step into a tub or tank too soon, you may find yourself in a state of relaxation so that oxytocin levels in the body decrease, prolonging labor. Stepping out of the shell and walking around can reduce the effects of prolonged labor time.
Where can you experience water birth?
Some hospitals and maternity homes in Australia have a service to help you give birth underwater. You can ask for information about underwater childbirth facilities when you visit your doctor next time, or when attending antenatal classes. But remember to book early for birth because the facilities for giving birth underwater are few, while this service is top-rated.