Childbirth Options what is a Water Birth

One of the most important milestones for most women in their lives is giving birth. There are numerous options available when it comes to giving birth. Among them is the option to have a water birth. Many women are lured into considering this option; often for the soothing and calming aspect water seems to have on most people. Water connotes feelings of invigoration, revitalization, cleanliness and being relaxed, a clear plus point for women giving birth.

A water birth is when a pregnant woman gives birth to her baby in a tub full of warm water often 37 degrees Celsius in temperature. Some women like to jump into the tub of water as soon as labor contractions begin, although this isn’t usually a good idea as being in the water can lengthen labor and the water will become cold.

Midwives usually advise that the woman about to give birth goes into the water when her vagina is 5 cm dilated. This is also not only not to prolong labor time, but for an optimum and healthy water birth. Sometimes with prolonged sitting in the tub before the birth is soon to take place, meconium or what is the baby’s first stool can leak out into the water or the woman’s bowels can open up allowing some debris to float in the water, which could cause infection if not cleaned out.

A woman will often sit with her back against the tub wall with her legs spread wide under the water and arms either on the birthing tub sides or used to hold her own weight up by pressing the bottom of the tub. A woman can also sit in a kneeling position or any way she finds comfortable. A woman’s weight can be held by the gravity of the water making it easier for the mother to change positions and move around.

A water birth often offers more privacy to a woman about to give birth, in that the vagina is under the water and not exposed in the air. This can prove to be more comfortable for some women.

Some women consider a water birth essential as the baby will come out into a familiar environment as it was surrounded by fluid in the mother’s womb. Water also softens the skin making it a tempting option for many women.

A woman can decide to have a water birth at home with the assistance of a midwife or two. Water birth options are also available at some hospitals, although it could happen that when the time for delivery comes, all other birthing pools are being used. It can be disappointing to plan for a water birth and look forward to all the delights of being in water, and then not be able to.

Some women are strongly advised not to have a water birth. These include women, who have pregnancy-induced low blood pressure, have had a previous cesarean section; those who have had bleeding near the end of pregnancy, those with herpes and women whose babies have not been developing properly.

However some women cannot consider the option of a water birth as it would be too risky, they include women who are giving birth prematurely, whose baby is in the breech position or women who are expecting twins cannot have a water birth.

A water birth can relax the woman, soften her skin tissue to allow the skin to stretch without much if any tearing, offer more privacy and have the baby birthed into a familiar liquid environment as that of the womb. The water allows the woman to move around easily and lowers blood pressure. There are some risks to consider, and some women are advised not to choose this birthing option. Some women cannot give birth this way, as in the case for those delivering a baby prematurely or giving birth to twins.