Water birth pros and cons

water birth pros and cons

Childbirth in water consists of the birth of the baby with the mother immersed in water, in a bathtub or pool. It’s a very old way of being born. Hieroglyphs reveal that babies who would become princes or princesses were born in bathtubs in Ancient Greece. There are also reports of Australian aborigines and islands in southern Japan where watering took place.

The first water birth reported in the medical literature was conducted in a village in France in 1805 and was published in the Annales de la Societe de Medecine Practique de Montepellie. A young woman in labor remained extensively in labor for more than 48 hours. After that time, his doctor, no longer knowing what to do, asked for help from a local midwife who advised him to put her in a bathtub. Immersed in water, the patient reinvigorated her strength and soon gave birth to a healthy baby.

In this article we will look at the pros and cons of water birth.

Pros of water birth


  •  Warm water – excellent natural painkiller. As a result of its impact reduces the pain of spasms and relax all the muscles of the body, allowing mothers to rest between contractions.


  •  While practically weightless, a woman can fully dedicate herself to instincts and take the most convenient and least painful position. With this condition persisting normal blood flow to the pelvic organs resulting in a woman in labor does not feel much discomfort in the back.


  •  Under the influence of the cervix warm water revealed better soft tissues of the perineum are elastic, which reduces the likelihood of gaps in the fetus in motion.


  •  Kid, leaving his usual water “home” for the first time confronted again with water, which softens the emotional tension at the time of birth.


  • There is a sensation of well-being, mental relaxation and decreased anxiety, with active participation of the pregnant woman in the process of birth. Parturients report a very pleasurable experience after the babies are born in the water. In addition, when the pregnant woman is immersed in water, she is in a relative gravitational state (specific gravity of water = 1.0, human body = 0.974) and consequently there is no change in blood circulation to the placenta and oxygenation of the baby with changes in maternal position. This provides a great freedom of movement and postures that she can adopt in the bathtub. Out of the water, one should avoid lying on one’s back by lowering the mother’s blood pressure and oxygenating the baby at birth.


  • A large study published in 2004 compared 3,617 births in water and 5,901 controls (1). Water delivery was associated with reduced perineal lacerations, reduced blood loss and less need for labor analgesia. There was no difference in the rate of maternal and neonatal infection. Other studies published in subsequent years have confirmed these findings, suggesting that childbirth in water represents a valuable and promising alternative to out-of-water childbirth . The most recent study was published in 2007 and showed that immersion in water was associated with a shorter duration of both the dilation and the expulsion phases, without increasing the risk of maternal and neonatal infection .

The cons and risks water birth


  •  The danger of this method is that delivery in the water at home or in the hospital (especially no difference) allows for inadequate medical monitoring of the mother and the fetus. All process controls, which is connected in traditional delivery is not available and therefore time to see the beginning of possible complications – difficult, resulting can lose precious minutes of time.


  •  Now you know how birth occurs in water, and can appreciate the situation of insecurity: during a long stay in water mothers, the increased risk of penetration of pathogens in the birth canal and vagina through gaps. Even if the water replaced carefully every 2-3 hours and disinfect the danger still exists.


  •  While a woman is in labor in the water, it is very difficult to diagnose the presence of bleeding and estimate its degree.


  •  In case of any complication need much more time for a woman in labor with the child could receive the necessary medical care, especially if the place of birth of home.


  •  Very difficult to find a highly qualified doctor, who agreed to perform this delivery, is a big responsibility, and take them home – and quite illegally.


  • In theory, therefore, some infants with undiagnosed chronic hypoxia could suck underwater. Therefore, the presence of meconial amniotic fluid (the intestinal contents of the baby are eliminated in the amniotic fluid and it is dyed a greenish color) and / or changes in the rhythm of the baby’s heart beat are a contraindication to childbirth in water . These studies have also revealed that the ambient temperature and not the contact with the external air would be the main stimulus for the spontaneous beginning of the breathing of the newborn.


  • In the following situations, it is not advisable to deliver in water:
    •  High risk pregnancy;
    • Premature labor (less than 37 weeks gestation);
    • Evidence of maternal fever and / or untreated infection (Herpes, HIV + or Hepatitis C);
    • Signs of compromising baby well-being within the womb;
    • Excessive vaginal bleeding;
    • Pregnant woman with previous cesarean section;
    • Water pouch rupture with meconial or bloody liquids;
    • Baby in anomalous positions inside the womb (pelvic, for example);
    • Prior history of very difficult deliveries due to very large babies or narrow maternal basin.




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