It is an alternative to natural childbirth that has aroused more interest in pregnant women in recent years. The last to opt for it was the singer Raquel del Rosario , who had her first child through this technique, which she speaks very positively about. Women who have experienced this type of childbirth report that contact with water is relaxing and reduces the tensions of labor , they describe it as a natural “epidural” .
Done correctly and with the necessary precautions, water birth has many benefits, such as reducing the number of tears and episiotomies, and a proven relaxing effect, but this practice is not without risks, and therefore it is only indicated in low risk cases . The water birth always needs the supervision of a specialist, midwife or gynecologist, to prevent complications.
HOW LABOR TAKES PLACE IN WATER
The priority of this type of delivery is always the safety and health of the mother and the baby. The water temperature should be at 37 degrees (human body temperature), thus decreasing the production of adrenaline, relaxing the muscles during childbirth and promoting dilation . To enter the “bathtub”, it is necessary to wait until the dilation is active and the cervix has reached a dilation of between three and five centimeters. In case of the mother dipping prematurely, there is a risk that the contractions will slow down.
THE METHOD IN THE WATER HAS ADVANTAGES FOR THE MOTHER
IN WHICH CASES IT CAN BE CARRIED OUT
Some public health centers, as well as other private ones, already offer special bathtubs for carrying out deliveries with this method. Given the many advantages it offers, water birth is indicated for almost all women who have had a normal pregnancy , for women who have previously had prolonged labor , for older gilts, and for mothers in whom a pregnancy is expected. long dilation .
It is not indicated especially in women with ineffective contractions or that do not progress. However, the most important exclusion criterion is that which affects the well-being of the baby , such as in the event that cardiotocographic monitoring is needed or in the event of fetal distress, for example. It is also not advisable to give birth in water in case of twin , breech or premature pregnancy . On the other hand, it is not an absolute contraindication that the woman has had a previous cesarean section
ADVANTAGES AND POSITIVES
Underwater births cause fewer tears to the perineum and fewer episiotomies, because skin and tissues stretch more easily in water. In addition, the water has a relaxing effect and relieves the pain of the future mother . This reduces the need for medications and anesthesia. By being relaxed, it is also easier to control your breathing. Another advantage is that the water favors movement, the woman feels less heavy, making it easier for her to move and change position. The water birth helps the mother’s posture to be more physiological and natural.
WARM WATER WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR THE BABY TO BE BORN
In the case of the baby, the warm water is an environment similar to the one that sheltered him for the last nine months; so in theory, this facilitates his transition to the outside world , if he finally decides to complete the expulsion in the water; Well, another of the great advantages of this method is that it allows the mother to decide which of the stages of labor she wants to perform underwater and when she wants to go out, since it is not necessary to complete the entire delivery in the water, she can choose to perform only the dilation phase. The mother takes control of the situation at all times, deciding on her delivery and how she wants to carry it out .
RISKS AND DISADVANTAGES
The risks and complications in a water birth are scarce and infrequent, however there are aspects that must be taken into account. There is a risk that the baby will inhale water, as he may try to breathe while still in the water . The risk of this happening is low, as the baby’s reflexes cause it to breathe when it comes into contact with in the air, but there is a possibility of it happening. There is also a risk of infection and the possibility of breaking the umbilical cord.
Another problem with this type of delivery is the difficulty in monitoring the fetus . Most of the instruments used to monitor the baby are not waterproof. To check the well-being of the child throughout the delivery, the mother may have to get out of the bathtub or pool. This can be resolved if Doppler monitors are available for underwater use. Water, as we have already mentioned, can trigger a slowdown in labor . If the mother enters the water too soon she can relax too much and slow down the birthing process. To avoid this, wait until the mother has dilated at least five centimeters.
IS THE BABY OR THE MOTHER IN MORE DANGER THAN IN A TRADITIONAL BIRTH?
Water delivery presents an increased risk of maternal and neonatal infection, especially if there has been rupture of membranes, difficulties in neonatal thermoregulation, or rupture of the cord when removing the baby from underwater. Respiratory distress, aspiration hyponatremia, seizures, and neonatal asphyxia can also be triggered .
The main problems described in this type of delivery are in the case of the baby. For this reason, they recommend using childbirth in water , and benefit from the calming effects they have on labor pains, and once the expulsion phase has arrived, get out of the bath and deliver the baby in a “dry environment”.