The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Water Birth

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There are many options for the labor and delivery process that are available to women. One such option is a water birth. It is important that a woman makes an informed choice about the best type of birth for her. This article outlines the advantages a

There are lots of options available for women when giving birth. There is no longer the need for a woman to be laid on her back and being shouted at to push. As long as the mother and the baby are both healthy, a woman can make an informed decision about how she would like to give birth. This can help a woman to feel in control of the situation and to be less distressed. One option for giving birth that is available is to have a water birth. Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of giving birth in this way. This information will help a woman to decide if a water birth is the best option for her.

Advantages of a Water Birth

Pain Relief

The water itself acts as a form of pain relief. A bit like having a bath when you have period pains, the water is soothing and reduces the pain that is felt from the contractions. It also supports the joints and muscles.

Mobility

You can get into any position which you find comfortable. If you labor lying on a bed, you are often stuck in the same position for the duration of the labor and delivery process. This usually means lying on your back. As pain is often felt in the lower back, you are lying on an area that is uncomfortable. With a water birth, you are not putting pressure on painful areas of your body. You can move into positions that are better for you. Also, as you are more likely to be upright, gravity will help the baby to move down the birth canal.

Control

Having a water birth can help the mother to feel more in control of the situation. She will have opted for this type of delivery and will feel that she is being proactive in the birthing process. Having an element of control over how she gives birth will help her to stay focused upon the task in hand.

Less Stressful for Mother and Baby

It can be less stressful for the baby. In a regular birth, the baby comes straight out of a nice warm, wet environment in the amniotic sac and is then in a cold, dry world. It can be quite stressful for a baby. In a water birth, the baby is born into a similar environment to the one that they have become accustomed to for the past nine months. As the mother is likely to feel more in control, focused and have reduced pain, it can also be a less stressful experience for her.

Less Invasive

When giving birth in the water, it is likely that there will be less internal examinations and other invasive procedures. The mother is left to labour naturally and to follow her instincts. Many women find this an appealing feature of a water birth.

Natural

A water birth is often more natural than other births because there is less medical intervention. For women who want to deliver their baby as naturally as possible, this is often a really good option.

Disadvantages of a Water Births

No Epidural

There are limitations in terms of pain relief options if you choose to have a water birth. You can’t have an epidural and many hospitals do not like you to have intra-muscular drugs if you plan to give birth in the water. The only options that are really available are the pain relieving qualities of the water, gas and air or massage.

High Risk Pregnancies

People who have a high risk pregnancy are usually advised to avoid water births. These include multiple births, breech babies and situations where either the mother or the baby has another medical condition. This is because there are additional complications that could arise in these pregnancies that may be difficult to treat if the mother is in a birthing pool.

There Are Risks

There are always risks when giving birth. However, there are some specific one that relate to water births. First of all. As the baby is being born, it is important that the mother doesn’t rise and fall her hips in and out of the water. This means that the baby may in hale the water. Secondly, if complications arise, it is more difficult to handle these while the mother is in the water. This means that the mother needs to quickly get out of the water in the middle of labor, or that medical staff try to cope with the problem with the additional complication of the mother being in a birthing pool.

Conclusion

How a woman wants to give birth is her personal choice and there are many options available. It is important that a woman is fully aware of the pros and cons of each of these methods of having baby so that they can make an informed choice. A water birth is one option that is available to women, and if the baby and the mother are both healthy and the mother is fully aware of the advantages and disadvantages of a water birth, then it can be a wonderful and special way for a baby to be delivered. Always discuss your options with the qualified health practitioner who is responsible for your care during your pregnancy.

2 comments

Charlene Collins
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Posted on Mar 30, 2012
valli sarvani
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Posted on Mar 28, 2012