Water births are rapidly becoming more commonplace but still are considered to be a secondary choice when giving birth. A mother-to-be needs to be aware of the pros and cons of having a water birth to make an informed decision for her and her baby.
Pros Of A Water Birth:
Water birthing is thought to ease the transition of the baby from womb to world with less shock to the infant’s system.
A woman in labor is more relaxed when in a pool of water. The warm water helps her loosen her body and relax herself while contractions are very forceful. A laboring woman who tenses up during contractions will often have a prolonged and difficult labor and water submersion is able to help eliminate this issue.
A water birth has been shown to reduce the first stage of labor and lessen the necessity of pain relief medications. A woman who chooses water delivery often has minimal to no tearing. The lack of tearing eliminates the need for stitches or an episiotomy.
Cons Of A Water Birth:
Some infants who are born into water may try to breathe after being delivered but before being pulled out of the water. This will result in the baby getting fluid in their tiny lungs and may cause the newborn to drown if the water is not removed from their lungs.
A few cases have been documented where the umbilical cord has broken during a water birth resulting in the newborn to lose a great deal of blood and requiring an immediate blood transfusion.
Dirty water may cause a newborn to contract an infection that will require hospitalization to rid the infant of the infection picked up during birth.
Women Who Should Not Consider A Water Birth:
Any high risk medical issue should preclude a woman from having a water birth. Breech or premature labors should never undergo this type of labor option. A multiple pregnancy with should avoid a water birth due to potential complications. Any woman who has herpes needs to have a c-section in order to not pass on the disease to her new baby.
High quality studies regarding the positives and negative aspects of a water birth have not been conducted. Most of the benefits and issues of a water birth have been acquired from small independent studies of women who have undergone this type of birthing method.