Are water births safe for me and my baby?

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According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), there are some very real risks involved in water births

Water births are starting to become more and more commonplace, especially since studies show that water births do have some positive effects for the mothers. However, are water births really as safe as most proponents claim they are?

Hospitals have been scaling back on water births

More and more hospitals, such as DeKalb Medical Center in Atlanta, have been scaling back on water births. This might be partly due to the fact that some studies say that water births have no proven health benefits.

Interestingly, there have been some studies made regarding the benefits of being immersed in water during labor. The studies show that being immersed in water during labor can shorten labor times and reduce labor pains.

However, they're quick to add that the benefits are purely limited to the first stage of labor, as giving birth underwater has no clear benefits to either the mother or the child.

There are some dangers to water births

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), there are some very real risks involved in water births. These include a higher risk of infections in the mother as well as the child, damage to the child's umbilical cord, and asphyxiation or even seizures in newborns.

The ACOG says that without any additional research regarding those concerns, it's still best if mothers can give birth on land instead of being immersed in water. Mothers who choose a water birth should also be informed of the risks that are involved, they add.

It's still the mother's choice

While the jury is still out if whether water births are safe or not, the most important thing for mothers would be to make an informed decision as to how they want to give birth.

Knowing both the benefits and risks of water births should give them a better idea once it's time for them to give birth to their child. As usual, it's important for mothers to work closely with a doctor that they trust so that they can choose what's best for them and their newborn.

As always, the most important thing is the safety of both the child and the mother.

WATCH: Mom gives exotic natural birth in rainforest

Sources: today.com, medicaldaily.comacog.org

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