Water Birth: What are the benefits and risks?

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Is water birth right for you? Learn about the promised benefits and possible risks of this birth method that is increasing in popularity

Water birth is a method of childbirth where the mom is submerged in a pool of warm water throughout the process of labor and delivery. It can be conducted in a birthing center, hospital, or at home.

It can be performed by a doctor, midwife, or nurse-midwife with the assistance of a doula or birthing coach.

What are the benefits of giving birth while immersed in water?

Water births are said to be soothing and relaxing; it also lowers blood pressure and eases anxiety.

During the first stage of labor, or when contractions begin until the cervix is just about to be fully dilated, warm water helps ease pain and speed up the process of labor.

Some sources also claim that it reduces the possibility of tearing during labor because it makes the perineum of the vagina more elastic and relaxed.

Throughout the process, warm water also energizes the mom to push or bear down. Some moms are also more comfortable as the submersion offers more privacy.

Are water births dangerous?

According to a recent study, there is no data to support claims that water births are better than hospital births, just like there is no evidence to back its perceived dangers.

"The notion that it is safe to have the baby under water has not been shown as safe or unsafe in our review," study author Dr. Alastair Sutcliffe, told FitPregnancy. "Whilst it is a good plan to try labor in water, my advice is to wait until there is more convincing evidence of safety before having the actual delivery in water."

photo: shutterstock

For moms-to-be considering giving birth in water, here are some possible, but rare, risks you should be aware of, according to Dr. Jeffrey Ecker of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Is a water birth right for you?

To determine if a water birth is the right choice for you and your baby, make sure that:

  • You're between the ages of 17 and 35
  • You have not experienced labor complications in the past like preeclampsia
  • You're not expecting twins or multiple births
  • Your baby is not in the breech position
  • Your baby is not a preemie
  • You don't have an infection
  • You don't have chronic health problems, like heart disease
  • Your baby is not big or heavy

Contact a specialist or a nearest birthing center to set up an appointment.

Here are some centers in the Philippines you could get in touch with.

Conscious Birth Manila

0927-914-6955

Shiphrah Birthing Home

6 Liwayway St., Blooming Hills Subdivision, Taytay, Rizal

(02) 660-7565

READ: Yoga teacher shares her incredible home water birth experience

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