Want to Try Water Birth? Find Out The Benefits and Risks of it First

If we look at the trend carried out by some Indonesian artists, Mama may be familiar with the term “water birth.” This method of childbirth began to be known along with the terms “gentle birth” and “lotus birth.” These methods of labor promote calmness and comfort during childbirth. Actually, what is water birth?

What Water Birth is

According to WebMD, Water birth is a method of childbirth with the mother being in a pool of warm water throughout the labor process or halfway through the process. Basically, this method of delivery uses water as a pain reliever and makes Mama more relaxed during labor. This method also prioritizes natural labor techniques without anesthesia or other supporting medicine.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which regulates pregnancy and childbirth guidelines in the United States, mentions that water birth benefits mothers who are giving birth. But ACOG suggests that water birth should not go beyond the first stage of labor, which is when contractions begin until the uterus begins to stretch.

Why is that so? This is because in the first stage of labor, water birth will help shorten labor duration as well as reduce the possibility of epidural use. While in the second stage, it is not recommended to be in the water to anticipate the possibility of emergency delivery, such as the need for a cesarean section or other medical assistance.

Although during water birth, Mama should be accompanied by health workers such as midwives or doctors, the possibility of childbirth that requires medical action is still very likely to occur. It will take more time to get Mama out of the water and head to the nearest hospital in case the labor is heading to an emergency situation.

The benefits of Water Birth

In more detail, here are the benefits of childbirth with the water birth method:

Source: birthbecomesyou.com

  • Reduced Pain During Childbirth

This is because as long as your body comes into contact with water, the body will become relaxed, breathe more regularly, and can reduce pain during contractions. Reporting from  Hello Sehat, when the labor process takes place, the function of water can lower your blood pressure, which can reduce anxiety. In addition, water can also lower stress-related hormones so that it can increase endorphins to reduce pain. Then, water can also help reduce the risk of vaginal tearing by making the perineum layer in the vagina elastic.

  • Mama Feels More Relaxed.

Water birth will give you a more comfortable feeling when you go into the water. In the water, the position of your body will be lighter and more relaxed, which causes the muscles in your body to not experience tension.

  • Makes Delivery Easier

The process of giving birth will be easier with the process of straining in a sitting or squatting position, so that the birthing process will be more effective and efficient. Reporting from  HaloDoc, water birth is influenced by the force of gravity in the water and will help you when straining in a sitting or crouching position so that labor can run faster. 

  • Privacy is more maintained

Water birth will provide more space for personal things, so that Mama will be more comfortable and the bonding with Papa or family will be stronger.

The Risk of Water Birth

Like other labor methods, the water birth method also has some potential dangers. Here are some dangers you need to know about before using this method:

Source: Alodokter 

  • Potentially Inhaling Water

Water birth has the potential risk of a baby is inhaling water. It happens if, in the delivery process, there is damage to the baby’s umbilical cord. If the delivery process does not cause damage to the umbilical cord and the baby is not too long in the water, then the potential risk can be avoided. 

  • Infection

The process of giving birth doesn’t just involve giving birth to a baby. Blood and the potential for discharge of dirt can contaminate the water. The impact is that newborns have the potential to swallow water and will inhale this polluted water, causing infection. 

  • Pneumonia

Babies can potentially get pneumonia when the water used is not at the right temperature (36-37 degrees Celsius). In addition, if the baby is not removed immediately after the birthing process, it also increases this risk.

  • Meconium Aspiration Syndrome  

Babies can potentially develop meconium aspiration syndrome when using the water birth method. It starts with a baby who has been able to defecate before birth. Amniotic fluid will be contaminated with feces so that the baby’s breathing will be disturbed. If the baby is born, the doctor or midwife should immediately suck the meconium fluid (which is generally green, thick, and sticky) because the baby’s position will be in water, which allows it to take more time and steps than a normal birth.

  • Umbilical Cord Damage

When the newborn is born from the water birth process, the baby should be lifted as soon as possible to the surface. The impact that will arise and potentially occur is the tearing of the umbilical cord and bleeding. This causes the potential for anemia in infants.

Of these various benefits and risks, it is best to have a water birth only if you meet certain conditions, such as:

  1. Mama has a healthy pregnancy and lifestyle;
  2. The pregnancy is full months, which is 37-41 weeks;
  3. Mama’s pregnancy is a low-risk pregnancy (without accompanying disease).
  4. The position of the baby’s head is lowered.
  5. Amniotic fluid is clear.

Well Mam, these are the benefits and risks of water birth for Mothers. Although it can provide comfort for Mothers, the water birth method should not be done carelessly. If you want to use this method, do not forget to consult with an obstetrician who is already an expert in handling water birth.

Writer: Fabian Roshan

Translator: Zatalini Syadni

Editor: Mega Pratidina