What About A Water Birth
Mamas&Papas|October 2018
What About A Water Birth

Water birth, whether at home or at a hospital, is growing in popularity. Along with our experts, PETA DANIEL takes a look at the benefits, risks and some of the myths associated with this birthing method.

Peta Daniel

The birth of a child is a beautiful, exciting, yet terrifying thing, and there are several different birthing methods that you could consider. Imagine a calm, warm pool where your belly floats gently as you labour towards birth. Your baby’s first experience of the world is a warm, calm place with no loud noises, harsh bright lights and cold air. Your child is brought slowly to the surface and held against your warm body, slowly acclimatising to this brand new world.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A WATER BIRTH?

During a water birth, a special birthing pool is used. It is filled with warm water and the temperature is kept at 37 or 38 degrees Celsius, the same as the internal body temperature of a human being. Once a woman’s labour is in progress she can move into the birthing pool, where she can continue her labour. The woman can remain in the birthing pool until after the birth. The baby is born into the water and is slowly and gently brought to the surface.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

According to doula and lactation consultant Laura Sayce, there are a great number of benefits to a water birth, including the following:

Pain relief

In water there is a weightlessness, which means the body doesn’t have to work so hard against gravity. It provides relief by creating buoyancy. Lauren Lee Carthy an instructional designer from Randpark Ridge lost her husband, Antony Carthy, when she was three months pregnant. Carthy had a water birth for her daughter Cadence’s birth the previous year. “After enduring contractions for a while I eventually got into the water, which was a great relief of pressure. And it helped me stay cool. I stayed there for most of my labour! I could hold on to the sides of the birthing bath during contractions and move around easily. The temperature helped tremendously as well.” The warmth of the water assists with pain relief from contractions and relieves backache.

Reduced tearing

Tearing is a common occurrence during birth, but it happens less often in water birth because the water softens the perineum, reducing the chances of tearing.

Less pressure

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October 2018