HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT THE PROS AND CONS OF A WATER BIRTH?
Water births are my all time superhero!
There are many pros and cons to having a water birth so you will want to be fully informed before you make a decision to go ahead and have one.
Today I want to go over the different aspects of having a water birth including the reason that some women choose to avoid it.
If you have never experienced a water birth before you will definitely want to after reading this, ha! (I’m obviously not biased)
Well, truthfully I’m not here to convince you that having a water birth is the only way to go if you want a natural birth because it’s not.
There are plenty of ways that you can give birth, you just have to choose the one which suits you best.
I’ve given birth to 4 children and not all of them were water births but certainly the last 2 definitely were and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Giving birth is never going to be an easy task so you have to make the most of it (so to speak).
It’s not called labor for nothing, that’s for sure!
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If you are a no-nonsense “hit me with all the pain relief you have” type of girl and that works for you then great!
If you’re not that girl but you don’t necessarily want to feel the full force of the transition phase during labor then perhaps a water birth is what you need to be thinking about.
Just remember that there are water birth pros and cons so you must weigh it up carefully.
WHAT IS A WATER BIRTH?
A water birth quite simply put is when a woman enters semi deep water in order to give birth to a child.
Some women like to get in to the water as early as possible and some like to get in just before they are ready to push.
It’s your labor so you have to decide what feels right at the time.
If you decide to have a water birth there are a few things that you need to know about and also how to prepare for it.
To start with not everyone can have a water birth, unfortunately.
A water birth is considered to be a natural birth therefore if you are thought to be having a high-risk pregnancy then you would not be able to give birth in this way.
If you are not in this category then we can go ahead and look at some of the pros and cons of a water birth a little more.
- How to write the perfect natural birth plan
- Do you know what to expect from a perineal tear?
- Avoiding the ring of fire during childbirth
WHAT IS CONSIDERED A HIGH RISK PREGNANCY?
A high-risk pregnancy is one where it is believed that there is a threat to the mother or the child during either the pregnancy or the delivery of the child.
SOME OF THE RISKS INCLUDE:
- Multiple births
- High blood pressure
(This list is not exhaustive)
IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A WATER BIRTH, HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
WATER BIRTH PROS AND CONS
1. DEPTH OF WATER
The water must be deep enough to cover most of your stomach area in order for it to be fully effective.
2. WATER TEMPERATURE
The temperature of the water must remain constant at between 35C- 38C.
If you have the water any cooler than this you could get a chill and that will make it more difficult for your body to relax during labor.
3. THE WATER MUST BE PURE
The water must be as pure and as clean as possible so that when your baby is born into the water they don’t pick up any harmful bacteria along the way.
As I mentioned before my first 2 pregnancies were not done in water.
During my first birth I had to have an emergency epidural which is not what I wanted as I would have preferred to have been as natural as possible.
My second child was natural but I suffered a perineal tear and had to have stitches as she decided to come out with her hand resting on her cheek.
As you can imagine I was terrified of tearing again with my third born.
I had already been told that the chances of me tearing again after having torn once before were much greater
A friend mentioned to me about having a water birth.
I didn’t think much of it to begin with but the closer I got to my due date the more I knew I had to have a serious look into it.
As soon as I heard it could possibly prevent tearing during childbirth I jumped at the chance and mentally had already entered the water.
It was the best birthing decision I had ever made because I was able to give birth naturally. I had a little bit of gas and air (Entonox) and in the end, I didn’t tear at all!
The great thing about having a water birth is that there are far more benefits than just avoiding tearing.
WATER BIRTH PROS
1. HELPS WITH RELAXING
The warm water can actually help you to be better relaxed enabling your body to release endorphins to help manage the pain of giving birth.
2. REDUCES BLOOD PRESSURE
It can help with reducing your blood pressure as this can be slightly raised once you go into labor. You will find that most doctors will keep a close eye on this as you labor.
3. HELPS WITH BACK PAIN
The water can also help to relieve back pain and the pressure of the baby’s head coming down as they begin to crown
4. IT RELAXES THE PELVIC FLOOR
5. HELPS YOU CONSERVE ENERGY
It also allows you to conserve energy as the water helps to carry your weight.
6. REDUCES THE NEED FOR EXTRA PAIN RELIEF
It reduces the likelihood of you needing to take drugs in order to manage the pain.
So far we have covered all the good things about having a water birth but there are a few negatives that come with it too that you will need to consider.
WATER BIRTH CONS
1. SLOWS DOWN CONTRACTIONS
If you get into the water too early it could cause your contractions to slow down.
I didn’t actually know this when I did my first water birth so I got in the water as soon as I hit 6 centimeters dilated.
It did help me pain wise a great deal but I guess I could also have delivered a lot quicker too if I hadn’t got in so soon.
On my 4th birth the midwife advised me not to get into the water too early otherwise my contractions might slow down.
I waited as long as I thought that I could but the pain was too much so I went in the water.
Sure enough, after a few minutes, we could tell that my contractions had indeed slowed down, not significantly but enough that we could notice.
This alone could put some women off wanting to give water birthing a try.
2. YOU CAN NO LONGER USE SOME OTHER TYPES OF PAIN RELIEF
You also have to know that some types of pain relief are no longer going to be accessible to you once you opt for a water birth.
A tens machine for example.
You can not use this as the electrics conflict with water.
Having and epidural is also going to be out of the question.
If you are decided to go with a water birth, you are pretty much deciding to go all natural.
3. IT WORKS FOR YOU AS LONG AS YOU HAVE NO FURTHER COMPLICATIONS
If a complication arises you may need to leave the water very quickly and give up on that natural birth plan
WHAT CAN YOU WEAR IN THE WATER?
This always baffled me, before going into labor you always feel quite modest.
Once that labor pain hits you it’s an entirely different story!
I don’t think that at that moment when you are in transitional labor you will care what you are wearing so don’t stress about what to wear beforehand.
But to answer the question I usually go in a light vest top obviously with no trousers on.
Some people feel comfortable being naked and some prefer to wear a bikini.
Whatever you decide to choose just make sure you are comfortable enough that it doesn’t distract you.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE PROS AND CONS OF A WATER BIRTH
If you are the natural mama type then you must give water birthing a try, it will completely change the way you look at childbirth.
Just remember that every woman’s labor story is going to be different. You must always keep an open mind when giving birth because ultimately you cannot control everything.
Hopefully, after reading this you will have a better understanding on whether or not a water birth is right for you.
If you want to go one step further and think about a home birth then getting your own birthing pool is definitely the way to go.
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