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Why Water Birthing is Better Than Regular Birth

Published by Times Of India

Every mom wants to make the arrival of her little one a memorable event. From eating healthy, staying active to prenatal classes, she prepares her body for smooth delivery all through the nine months. Yet, there are women who suffer from birth trauma. In fact, this is the very reason why many women don’t want to have a second baby.

For the unversed, there is a birthing technique that is supposed to be smooth (and positive) and it is called water birthing. While it is not common in India yet, we all have seen international videos and pictures of expectant moms delivering their baby in a pool of water. Haven’t we? Well, the concept is closer home now. According to Dr. Astha Dayal, Gynaecologist and Obstetrics consultant, C K Birla Hospital for Women, “Water birth is an ancient technique that helps in reducing labour pain for women. It is a natural way to ease labour pain and reduce the duration of labour without the use of any medication. Studies show that mothers who have experienced a water birth have a more positive experience and a higher satisfaction rate.”

How does the water birth work? “Since a baby has already been in the amniotic fluid sac for nine months, birthing in a similar environment is gentler for the baby and less stressful for the mother. Additionally, water’s buoyancy aids a woman to move more easily than on land and helps with efficient uterine contractions and improved blood circulation. This further results in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles leading to less pain for the mother and more oxygen for the baby. In fact, immersion in water often helps lower high blood pressure caused by anxiety,” adds Dr Dayal.

Here are some of the benefits of labouring in water

  • Less painful contractions
  • Increased production of endorphins
  • Less need for analgesia, such as narcotics or epidurals
  • Shorter labour
  • Feeling of being in control
  • Water supports 75% of a woman’s weight making her feel buoyant and comfortable
  • More likely to achieve a normal birth
  • More enjoyable birth experience for the mother
  • Water helps to relax the pelvic floor and soften the perineum
  • More gentle birth for the baby
  • Breastfeeding can be encouraged immediately

Water birthing is best suited for healthy women with an uncomplicated pregnancy of 37 plus weeks. Other selection criteria include baby should be head down, no pre-existing medical conditions, expecting only one baby, baby’s heart is normal.

Special equipment with proper protocols for infection prevention and close monitoring of the maternal and baby’s well-being. Hence, it can only be done at select places under the right clinical supervision.

There are no adverse effects to the baby or woman from labouring in water or delivering in the water. There are only some precautions that need to be taken to ensure the well-being of the mother and baby. Buoyancy of the water allows the mother to feel lighter and enables them to get into more comfortable positions.