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Keep Calm and Have a Water Birth

We women love our tub time and as we have heard before, warm water is the ultimate pain reliever during labour. But of course, planning on having a water birth also comes along with a lot of worries. You start wondering if your baby would be safe, does it really not hurt that much? Would it get weird being in a pool of your own blood? Well, we have all your worries sorted out in this article.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this; water birth is the process of giving birth in a tub of warm water. There are a number of women who choose to labour in the water and then get out for delivery while the others choose to remain in the water all throughout the delivery process.

The theory is that since the baby has already been in the amniotic fluid sac for about 9 months, birthing in a similar environment would be gentler for the baby as well as less stressful for the mother. Most midwives and birthing centers have said that the risks of fetal complications decrease when labour and delivery are held in a less stressful environment.

What is it like to give birth in water?

If you are using a birthing pool, it would be easier if you get into a comfortable upright position as being in an upright position gives you the advantage of working with gravity as your baby is born. It also may be easier to push your baby out in water than in air because as your body is supported by the water, you can always use the sides of the pool as support to keep you up and going.

One thing a lot of women worry about labour is accidentally opening your bowels as you push for your baby to come one. But bear in mind, that this is no issue at all. When you happen to be in pain, you probably would not even realize it happened. Plus, it happens to be a lot easier for the midwife to remove poo from the water rather than having to remove it from sheets and the best part is, it won’t smell either.

When the water birth happens, your baby is immediately brought up to the surface of the tub so that he would be able to breathe. When the baby is brought up to the surface too enthusiastically, there is a slight possibility that the umbilical cord can snap. However, this is not a life threatening emergency and with the help of a well trained midwife, there would be nothing to worry about.

What is it like for my baby being born in water?

We of course don’t know what any baby’s birth feels like. But, Champions of Water Birth believe that the transition to the outside world happens to be less traumatic for babies who are born in water. The idea of birthing in a tub filled with warm water is so that the water feels identical to the waters of your womb; therefore it helps keep the baby calm.

It is normal for every parent who wants to do a water birth to worry about your baby inhaling water or drowning in the birthing pool. However, healthy babies don’t take their first breath until they feel nerves in their face and their mouth and nose have been stimulated by contact with air and the change in temperature.

Your midwife is there for a reason. She would be monitoring your baby during labour to make sure that he is getting enough oxygen. Up to this date, there have been no reports showing a higher risk of breathing problems from babies born in water compared to babies born in air.

Experts believe that babies might be at risk of inhaling water only under two circumstances. One being if his head is brought up to the surface of the water before the rest of his body is out, overriding his dive reflex. The second being is the oxygen via placenta is affected in some way. However, you would have a midwife monitoring you and the baby at all times so there is nothing much to worry about.

Why may I need to get out of the water?

Some women do find that a water birth does not make contractions less painful. In this case, you can use gas an air which happens to be a mild pain reliever, but if you want something strong like epidural, you would have to leave the pool. Another reason you might have to leave the pool would be if any complications arise during your labour which might be quite upsetting to you.

Some reasons you might be asked to leave the pool are as follows;

  • Monitoring your baby’s heartbeat shows that there is a problem
  • You start bleeding during labour
  • Your blood pressure goes up
  • You feel faint or drowsy

If you plan on having your water birth in a hospital, there might be restrictions on how you can use the pool. You might want to check that all out first before going along with it. Most water births go smoothly, but if an emergency does arise, it may take time to get you out but with some help from your trained midwife, it should not be a problem at all.

Not many hospitals in the Klang Valley offer the water birth method for delivery, but one hospital that is very well known for their water birth and has had many years of experience is Pantai Hospital. Be sure to check them out for their water birth services.


3 myths about water birth!

Myth

Mummy & baby would be more susceptible to infection in water

Truth

The water actually provides a barrier to infection and dilutes the possible bacteria to the point where the concentration is too low to cause any harm

Myth

You can’t have a water birth after a certain age

Truth

There are no age restrictions when it comes to water birth. If you’re getting older but happen to be perfectly healthy, then why not?

Myth

Your baby might drown under water

Truth

A baby is actually an aquatic animal, receiving all its oxygen supply from the placenta circulation and bypassing its own lungs.

Fun Fact…

The effect of buoyancy lessens your body weight, allowing free movement & new positioning.

Did you know…

Warm water is soothing, comforting & relaxing. Not just during labour but in any other situation as well. It just works as a way to keep one calm.

The warm water in the tub is made to provide an identical environment to the amniotic sac.

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