All of the aspects to be taken into account when considering a water birth
Over the last ten years,water births have become increasingly popular among mothers-to-be who are looking for an alternative to a traditional birth. The goal is to relieve the pain of labour and ensure a happy and positive experience of childbirth whilst also making the process less traumatic for baby.
It is now known and scientifically proven that being immersed in water has a relaxing effect on the musculature of the entire body, and can help to regulate breathing and reduce the perception of pain. Scientific evidence shows that being surrounded by water reduces both the requests for epidural and spinal anaesthesia and the duration of labour, helping women stay more active and enabling them to participate more in the birth.
The mother-to-be is immersed in a birthing pool containing warm water, where she is free to move around, squat, float, get up and get out of the pool and then get back in whenever she wants. The temperature of the pool during labour is maintained at around 36 degrees, and is then increased to 37 degrees when the actual birth is approaching. A midwife and gynaecologist are always present, and will monitor the heartbeat of both mother and baby, along with a number of other parameters. There are many videos online of water births in hospital , which enable anyone interested to take a closer look at each stage of water birth.
Having a water birth at home is possible, but it is important to consider the costs and ensure you have the necessary equipment. Anyone who wishes to have a water birth at home will need to rent a birthing pool; these cost around 400 euros depending on the type selected. For health and safety reasons, a disposable birthing pool cover must also be purchased; this remains in contact with the mother's body during the birth. There are various associations of specialist midwives who offer this service at reasonable prices, and who bring the inflatable pool with them. However, we recommend speaking to your gynaecologist first and foremost, and once you have been given the go-ahead, you can start looking for midwives who specialise in home water births in the city in which you live.
Water birth is not associated with any specific risks for mother or baby, but it is only suitable for low-risk pregnancies at full term. A water birth is not recommended where active labour fails to progress as expected, when labour is too long, in cases where the amniotic fluid is coloured or where there is any fear of complications. In the presence of certain conditions, water birth is contraindicated, including breech birth, twin birth and premature birth. Even in the absence of risk, it is important to discuss with your midwife or gynaecologist in advance, assessing the pros and cons of water birth and ensuring that the place you give birth strictly adheres to the relevant protocols.
Not all hospitals are equipped with a birthing pool. If this is something you want when bringing our baby into the world, it is best to get organised well in advance, so that you can find out where and how you can have a water birth.