Nowadays there are a lot of alternative birthing methods that are available to mothers. One such alternative birthing practice is “water birthing”. In this 3-part series, we will gain insight into this practice.
What is a water birth?
It is as simple as it sounds. A water birth is when a pregnant woman goes into labor and gives birth to her newborn in a tub full of warm water.
Some women in countries abroad prefer only to go into labor (the second stage) as it helps them to be in a more relaxed stage and eases with the contractions. The only issue at times posed by this is the slight inconvenience encountered while getting out of the water bath before the birthing process.
History of water birth:
Ever since the 1960s, water birthing has been in existence, courtesy Dr. Igor Charkovsky from Russia. Then in the 1970’s Dr.Michael Odent made changes to implement it in French hospitals, owing to which the practice of water birth was brought to the United States by Dr.Michael Rosenthal in the 1980s. Ever since the practice of water birth has spread like wildfire all over the globe with numerous publications and studies sharing about the efficacy and benefits
What are the benefits of water birthing?
For the mother:
- Relaxation of body, muscles and pelvic floor
- Buoyancy helps in lightness and aids in easy movements of the mother
- Aids in “fetal ejection reflex”
- Reduced need for episiotomy
- Reduces frequency of tearing
- Gives autonomy to the mother and helps her to be emotionally and physically at ease
- A “natural” alternative as compared to intervention methods like using an epidural, synthetic oxytocin and assisted delivery procedures
- Reduces the production of stress hormones, hence reduces pain
For the baby:
- Provides an environment which is similar to the womb
Water birth is a holistic approach to birthing in which the mother is purely attuned to her body in order to make the birthing procedure as natural and smooth as possible. In Part-2 and Part-3 of this three-part series, you will read more about the procedure and the disadvantages. Thus, you will get a better understanding of this approach if you are considering this as a birthing option.