Is water birth safe for the baby?
Well, as we all know that the baby is safely nestled in the mother’s womb in a sac (amniotic sac) filled with fluid (amniotic fluid). So, a lot of studies emphasize the benefits of water bath for the baby as it provides a similar environment as within the womb and hence the transition from the womb to the external world is less traumatic and stressful.
How will the baby breathe in water birth?
In a normal delivery, we notice that the baby starts breathing soon after birth. This is mainly because of the change in temperature causing the baby to take the first breath. However, in case of a water birth, the baby is safely born in the warm water tub and still receives oxygen via the umbilical cord and starts breathing when the baby is taken out of the tub because of the temperature change.
Disadvantages of water birth:
Charkovsky emphasizes that the mother’s state of mind plays a vital role during water birth. If the mother is prepared emotionally, half of the battle is won.
Other disadvantages include:
- Water embolism: In theory, there is a chance of some cases in which water can enter the bloodstream of the mother causing water embolism.
- Water aspiration: Can occur in cases where the umbilical cord gets twisted around the baby or if the baby gets stressed when passing through the birth canal. Water aspiration into the lungs can be a cause of death in the newborn.
- Prolonged labor: Due to the extended duration of contractions.
- Removal of the umbilical cord: Accidental removal of the umbilical cord may occur when the baby reaches the water surface.
- Chances of tearing: In some conditions, the perineum (the area between the anus and vagina) can tear.
- Infection: If proper protocol and standards are not maintained, there may be a threat of infection by microorganisms to the mother and child.
- Accessibility to birthing pools: Not all hospitals and birthing centers have trained professionals and water birth facilities. Do your homework before considering this option.
Is it worth it?
Well, this is a tricky choice. Based on your health statistics and your doctor’s opinion, a call can be made. But always head with caution. The conventional method is the safest bet but if you really feel the need for this holistic approach, we suggest you get it done at the best facility possible for the safety of you and your newborn. Happy birthing!