Water-birth is becoming an increasingly popular birthing option. There are, of course, many safety questions that might bother you. From concerns about infection to worries about your baby drowning or ingesting water, you could hear many myths about water-birthing. But you shouldn’t worry as long as you have the right guidance from trained professionals who will care for you.
It’s safe for you and your little one to labour in water if you’re healthy and if your pregnancy is going well. However, there isn’t enough evidence yet to say whether giving birth in water is safer as compared to giving birth out of the water.
#Myth 1: Your baby is likely to get an infection if born in water
One of the most common myths about water-birth is that your baby is more likely to get an infection if born in water. The reality is that the rate of infection in water-births is less than 0.01%. Few studies have even shown that there is little or no difference in infection rates between babies born normally and those born in water.
As you push your baby out, you may poop a little in the water. This is entirely normal. Most facilities have strict rules about cleaning pools after each water-birth. A regular check is conducted to ensure that the pool is sterile after each use.
#Myth 2: Your baby might drown if born in water
You may be thinking that, where there is water, there is a risk of drowning. When your baby is born, s/he receives oxygen supply from the placenta. Your baby will not breathe when in water. Once your baby is born, s/he will be immediately pulled out of the water and this is when the water is released from his/her lungs to take the first breath.
Your midwife will be monitoring your baby to make sure s/he is getting enough oxygen. Until now there is no such evidence that babies born in water suffer from breathing problems.
#Myth 3: You have to be young to opt for a water-birth
Your age doesn’t have any effect if you opt for a water-birth. Few complications like an infection, a breech baby, excessive bleeding may make a water-birth unsafe for you and your baby.
#Myth 4: All water temperatures are the same during water-births
The maximum temperature that is recommended for a water-birth is 99.5 degrees. You can choose a cooler temperature if you find it comfortable. The temperature of the water will be monitored routinely throughout labour to avoid overheating and cooling. Your midwife will be there with you to keep a check according to your needs.
#Myth 5: A water-birth is more painful than a bed birth
False. Water-births are less painful because the warm water acts as a natural pain reliever. Warm water helps to relax your pelvic floor muscles, reducing the incidence and severity of tearing. During your contractions, it helps you to be calm and comfortable.
Most of the water-births go smoothly, but in case of an emergency, your midwife is trained to manage it. In most times, your midwife will detect signs before it gets to an emergency situation. During emergencies, they have been trained to get you out safely and getting you the help you need. To reduce the risks during your water-birth, your midwife will take precautions like:
- She will monitor your baby’s heartbeat
- Ensure you are hydrated and encourage fluids
- Monitor you to ensure you do not develop a temperature.
If you’re interested in having a water-birth but are having concerns about the process, speak to your midwife. If you need further support and if you have any medical complications she will collaborate with your obstetrician to ensure you make the right informed choice.