What's Involved With a Water Birth?

Exploring the Pros of Water Births

The research that has been done on the benefits of a water birth is unclear. Some studies show there are certain benefits for the moms, while other studies shown there is no real benefit. However, some women believe that a water birth can offer a natural and soothing way to labor and deliver their baby. Some reasons a mom may choose a water birth include:
 
  • Water is soothing and relaxing for a laboring mom
  • A natural and less stressful experience for some women
  • Water can relax the mother's muscles and improve blood flow
  • Floating in water can help women feel lighter and lessen the weight of the body
  • Warm water can help to relax the perineum (the area between the vagina and rectum), which can make delivery easier.
 

What Are the Risks?

Although the idea of a water birth may sound appealing, it's important to understand that there are potential risks involved with this birth method. Some of these risks may include:
 
  • Research on water births is quite limited, and it is unknown whether they are safe for mom and baby
     
  • Water births might decrease the strength and frequency of the uterine contractions, especially if the woman enters the bath too soon
     
  • If the tub is not cleaned properly, it can lead to serious infections from contaminated water
     
  • Cord immersion in warm water may delay vasoconstriction, which can increase red blood cell transfusion to the newborn and lead to jaundice
     
  • Difficult to assess blood loss
     
  • Electrolyte problems from the baby swallowing water
     
  • The baby may gasp for that first breath while underwater, which will cause him or her to inhale water, which could cause problems, including some serious ones, such as brain injury or drowning.
 
Pregnancy and Pain

Pregnancy Info

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