Water immersion during birth - Dr Alastair Morris
6664
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-6664,single-format-standard,mkd-core-1.0.2,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,onyx-ver-2.0, vertical_menu_with_scroll,smooth_scroll,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.2.1,vc_responsive

Water immersion during birth

Water immersion during birth

Water immersion during labour has a long history and many women are encouraged to take advantage of a bath or pool during this time. Some also choose to deliver while still in the water and have a ‘water birth’. There is certainly a worldwide trend to encourage the use of water during childbirth with many professional bodies supporting its use.


Advantages include allowing the mother to move freely and easily into positions that are both more comfortable and reduce fatigue, help create a relaxed atmosphere and allow the mother to feel more in control of this important event. Research has shown a reduction in the need for pain relief and the first stage of labour is marginally shorter. Mothers often ask whether the chance of having a tear is less with a water birth but this has still to be proven – though anecdotally it appears to help.

 

Assuming that the place a woman wishes to deliver her baby has the facility for water birth then most women will be able to try. However, for a variety of reasons some are not. Your obstetrician or midwife will provide advice in this regard but common reasons include high blood pressure, bleeding and concern about the babies heart rate. These may preclude trying at all or if they occur during labour then you will likely be asked to leave the water.
 
Mums often ask whether their baby will breath under water but as long as the baby stays completely under the water a special reflex – the ‘dive reflex’ – stops this happening.  Another frequent question is whether there is a higher chance of infection but this appears not to be the case.
 
The decision about water birth is one that needs to be made in consultation with your health professional taking into account your personal circumstances, desires and the facilities available at your chosen birth unit.  Dr Morris is trained in water birth and where appropriate will support you in trying to achieve this should you wish.