Water Birth: Process, Benefits, and Risks

by Khadija MAWHOUB

Every third pregnant woman wishes to give birth to her little darling through a water birth. Here you want to give your baby a relaxed and stress-free start to life. However, only one out of 20 babies are born in the birthing tub. How does water birth work and why is it so rare? What are the advantages and disadvantages of water birth and can a baby drown? We clarify in our guide!

What is a Water Birth and How Does it Work?

With a water birth, your baby is born under water. It will then be lifted out of the water by your midwife and placed on your stomach. The umbilical cord is usually still severed in the water. Basically, you spend your entire birth, that is, from the opening to the expulsion phase, in a birth tub that is filled with warm water. The optimal water temperature is between 34 and 36 degrees Celsius and usually extends to the navel.

On special request, the water can also reach up to the chest. The birth tub holds up to 700 liters of water and offers you as a mother-to-be a high degree of freedom of movement. Handles, ropes or towels stretched over the birth tub also serve as holding devices. The heartbeats of your baby are monitored using waterproof transducers. Your doctor and your midwife monitor the complete birth from the tub edge. If complications occur during this time, such as nausea or circulatory problems, you should leave the birth tub immediately.

 baby water birth

Read Also: 12 Typical Early Signs Of Pregnancy

What are The Requirements For Water Birth?

In order for a water birth to be carried out, several requirements must be met:

  • No premature birth: You must have completed the 37th week of pregnancy.
  • No bleeding: No bleeding should have occurred in late pregnancy.
  • No previous illnesses: No previous illnesses and infections are known.
  • No complications: No complications occurred during pregnancy.
  • Your baby’s location: Your baby is not in the breech position.
  • No multiple birth: With a multiple birth, water birth is excluded.
  • heartbeats: Your baby’s heartbeats are regular.

What are The Benefits of Water Birth?

Water birth is particularly popular with expectant mothers because it makes labor pains more bearable. The warm water also has a positive effect on your tensions and relieves your fears. Because the warm water relaxes the muscles and the tissue becomes softer and more elastic, the likelihood of a perineal tear can be reduced and the cervix also opens more easily. The urge to press in the water is less than when giving birth in bed.

But the most important point for you as a mother-to-be is that water birth is a less stressful birth form for your baby. The shock of arriving in the new cold world is not that big as your baby changes from the warm amniotic fluid to the pleasantly warm water in the birth tub.

Read Also: Causes And Exercises For Back Pain During Pregnancy

What are The Risks of Water Birth?

As with any other form of birth, complications can also arise. It is important that you discuss the advantages and disadvantages of water birth with your trusted midwife or your responsible doctor. Basically, the following risks or disadvantages can arise with water birth:

  • complications: In an emergency, your midwife cannot intervene as quickly as if you were born outside the birth tub.
  • risk of infection: There is an increased risk of infection of the birth wound if the afterbirth takes place inside the pelvis and then remains in the birth pelvis for a long time afterward.

Can a Baby Drown While Giving a Water Birth?

Do not worry! The breathing protection reflex and diving reflex of your newborn prevents the baby from drowning at birth. Here, fine receptors in your baby’s facial skin, especially the regions around the nose and mouth, ensure that the slightest contact with water sends a signal to the larynx, which immediately closes the windpipe. So there is no risk that water will get into the lungs of your newborn. However, the oxygen supply is still secured by the umbilical cord during birth in the water. The respiratory protection reflex disappears during the first 6 months of your baby’s life.

Also Read: All You Need To Know About Gaining Weight During Pregnancy

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