Is Water Birth The Method Of Delivery That I Want?
Lots of persons feel comfortable and relaxed when they are in the water. Maybe this is happening also because we all start our lives surrounded by liquid in the womb, and this familiar situation accompanies us throughout our lives.
Table of Contents
- 1 Generalities
- 2 What Is Water Birth?
- 3 How Much Time Does the Baby Spend in the Water after Birth?
- 4 What Is the Water`s Temperature?
- 5 What Prevents the Baby from Breathing Under Water?
- 6 Why Aren`t More Hospitals that Offer the Possibility of Water Birth?
- 7 How Is the Baby Monitored during Water Birth?
- 8 Can I Have a Water Birth in a Local Hospital?
Human beings are first of all made of water, and lots of our characteristics can be found in mammals, a connection which probably finds its explanation in the memory of a period when the human species had an “aquatic interlude.” A 3-day old newborn is made of water in proportion of 97%, and when the baby has 8 months, the percentage of water drops to 81%. Until the moment when a man has reached maturity, the percentage of water in the body is still around 50% to 70%, this depending on the level of fat in the organism.
The natural alliance of people with water is the best reason for the situation in which babies are able to swim naturally and can easily learn to stand and walk easily. In the first year of their lives, babies will be calm and happy, watching around them with their eyes wide open when they`ll agitate under water. When they`ll feel the need to breath, they`ll rise above the surface naturally before attempting to inspire. Babies know instinctively that they shouldn`t breathe when their head is under water. It seems that with time passing, people lose these instincts and become more prone to drowning.
Read more on Water Birth Stages: What You Should Expect?
For thousands of years, women started to use water to ease labor and delivery. Anywhere there was warm water, women used it, ritually, and felt quite comfortable, especially during labor.
Diving in the tub to make labor and delivery easier sounds like a tempting way for most women to bring a baby into this world. If a water tub is the place where a woman wants to be and there`s no complication occurring, this means that this is the place where the woman feels the most comfortable. When the moment of birth comes, there`s no reason for the mother to be asked to get out of the water.
When a woman who is in labor relaxes in a tub with warm water, feeling free of the gravity force on her child, with a low sensory stimulation, it`s less likely for her body to release stress hormones. This allows her body to produce pain inhibiting hormones which complete labor (endorphins). Catecholamine and noradrenaline, which are hormones released during stress, increase the blood pressure and inhibit or slow labor.
What Is Water Birth?
Water birth is amazingly simple. When labor starts, the patient needs to dive into the water, which has a temperature close to the temperature of her body. If the woman feels comfortable to give birth in that tub with warm water, you won`t have to ask her to get out of the water.
In the last 9 months, the baby developed in amniotic liquid. Babies adapt very well when they are born in the water. Water is a miraculous thing!
How Much Time Does the Baby Spend in the Water after Birth?
Normally, the doctor who supervises the birth will take the baby out of the water in the first 10 seconds after birth. There`s no physiological reason to let the child in the water for more than 10 seconds. There are several YouTube videos, one of which we present in our article below, which show how leaving the baby in the water for a few seconds doesn`t represent a danger.
Read more on Water Birth: Is this a Safe Method?
Physiologically, at this moment, the placenta is the one providing the baby oxygen and it cannot be said when the placenta will separate itself and will stop the flow of oxygen. The umbilical cord, which pulsates, isn`t a guarantee that the baby gets enough oxygen. The safe approach is that of taking the baby out of the water and gently placing him in his mother`s arms.
What Is the Water`s Temperature?
The water needs to be monitored so the temperature can be a comfortable one for the mother, around 35° – 37.7° C. The water`s temperature doesn`t need to exceed 38° C, because this may increase the body`s temperature of the mother and, in fact, increases the number of heart beats of the baby. A good idea is to have lots of bottles of water and cold towels to wipe the mother`s neck and face. Also, a cold spraying for the face is a welcome relief for most mothers.
What Prevents the Baby from Breathing Under Water?
Water birth is simple! Behind its simplicity there are a series of complex questions, experiences of different women, choices, opinions, research and observations from experts and doctors.
In the last 5 years, more and more hospitals started to create birth support programs, and newspapers began publishing lots of articles about the success stories of water births. In each article, it`s attempted to explain simply the process of birth in the water and it`s also attempted to find answers to the most common questions. Each story presents a happy mother who gave birth in a birth pool and who find herself next to her baby and the happy father, who prepared the portable birth pool with success. Titles like “wet birth,” “the baby`s birth went like walking on the water” or “the baby makes a sensational entry,” are considered simple stories of couples who took this decision and are happy with the result.
Why Aren`t More Hospitals that Offer the Possibility of Water Birth?
Lately, hospitals made a lot of progress from this point of view. Medical staffs are a lot more open in researching the problems experienced by their patients and drawing up protocols that are accepted in the hospitals. Some of the medical staffs have purchase the necessary equipment and birth pools from their own funds, with the hope that they`ll establish the basis of a real business.
Generally speaking, mothers who require advice about how to obtain permission to give birth under water find that they need 3 ingredients to change the policy of a hospital:
- A motivated mother.
- An open expert who will support the mother.
- A midwife or nurse who would be the perinatal coordinator and who would be available to start staff training and create a new policy of the hospital.
With these 3 ingredients, some hospitals will continue to reject such demands. Another important factor is time. The sooner it`s acted, the bigger are the chances of change.
The final ingredient is education. There are lots of fields of water birth that can be explored. Water birth is more of a philosophy of non-invention than a method or a way to give birth. Water birth combines psychology with physiology, technology, humanity and science. Water birth is the oldest method and, at the same time, the newest.
How Is the Baby Monitored during Water Birth?
When using the electronic fetal monitoring devices at large scale during water birth, the main reason of concern is the way can be precisely monitored the mother`s heartbeats, if she is dived in the water.
One of the first companies that designed waterproof monitoring equipments was Huntleigh Healthcare from the United Kingdom. This new technology was used for more than a decade and, in the meantime, was improved as well. Waterproof monitoring equipments include monitors, telemetry units and more.
It should be mentioned that there are Doppler ultrasounds even from 1996. In regards to listening the fetal heart beats, there`s a standard establish by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Experts assisting birth, if they follow this guide, they listen to the fetus from 30 to 30 minutes during labor and from 10 to 10 minutes during the period when he`s pushed towards the exterior. Some doctors listen to the fetus after each pushing effort.
Can I Have a Water Birth in a Local Hospital?
Unlike past times, now hospitals are much more cooperative, and the request of more and more women has been heard. Lots of persons initiate the development of this process by asking if they can bring their own portable birth pool during labor. There are a series of steps that need to be followed with the purpose of convincing the hospitals to adopt the protocols for water labor and birth, as well as for using a portable pool.