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Risk of Water Birth

Natural Method of Birth

Every mother wants their delivery to be easy and uncomplicated as possible. Though pain is inevitable in a vaginal birth, you can make it bearable through medication and epidural. But if you want a more natural and gentle method of birth, then a water birth is the right choice. 

What Is Water Birth?

Water birth is a birthing technique in which the mother is submerged in a tub of water. The baby will be born in the water. You can also choose to be in the water during labor and deliver the baby outside the tub. 

A birthing tub is big enough to accommodate 1-2 people. Thus, the mother can move freely and take any comfortable position while in labor. 

The main advantage of water birth is that it can reduce the labor time when the mother is immersed in water during the first stage. It also reduces the need to have an epidural or other medication for pain control. 

What Are the Risk Involved In Water Birth?

Water birth is recommended for mothers who go into labor between 37 weeks and 41 weeks of gestation. Moreover, the mother should be in the low-risk category, and the baby should be in a heads-down position. 

Those who opt for water birth should consider the below risk factors. 

Risk of Infection

During water birth, the mother is submerged in water and pushes the baby out. Thus, the chances of the water getting contaminated by vaginal and rectal flora and feces are very high. When the baby is born in this water, fecal matter can enter the baby’s body through the mouth and cause infection. 

Risk of Inhaling Water

A baby’s body is programmed so that it takes in the air the moment of birth. The baby’s dive reflex will typically close the airway and prevent the baby from breathing in the air. But if the baby is startled during birth or the oxygen supplied is affected somehow, the baby will inhale water, which can be dangerous. 

Risk of Respiratory Distress

This condition in newborns is called meconium aspiration. In this situation, the baby passes the bowel even before birth, which gets mixed with amniotic fluid. If the baby takes in this contaminated fluid, it can cause respiratory problems. When doctors suspect this condition, they need to take out the baby immediately to clear the air passage. This can be difficult in the case of water birth. 

Risk of Umbilical Cord Snapping

During water birth, the baby’s head is immediately brought to the water’s surface after birth to start breathing. But there is a risk of the umbilical cord snapping when this is done. This is a life-threatening situation that can result in bleeding. 

In very rare cases, water birth can also cause the risk of drowning if the baby is not taken out at the right moment. The lungs get filled up with water fast, which can be dangerous. 

Consider the Pros and Cons

Whether to opt for a water birth or not is purely a personal choice. While it eases pain and makes the whole process easy to manage, there is the risk of the baby developing complications if the birth does not go as planned. Thus, it is best to consider both the pros and cons before making a final decision.