Photo Courtesy of Megan Crown Photography @ http://megancrown.com/
What about waterbirth?
Waterbirth. By now, I'm guessing that you've watched a video on YouTube of a waterbirth or at the very least you've heard of someone who had a waterbirth either at home or in the hospital. Take a moment and consider right now what your opinion about waterbirth is and whether or not this might be a birthing option you'd consider.
One of the things I love about waterbirth is that the birth tub provides a space for moms that is very much like a cocoon! In the water births I've attended, I find that moms feel safe in the tub, relaxed in the tub, and generally more in control of their surroundings. Sometimes labors even seem to move faster once moms are settled in the tub during transition.
I wish I could say that every woman in America has the option to have a waterbirth but the truth is it's just not the case. Sometimes women are limited by risk and sometimes women are limited by providers and location. Not all locations and not all providers offer waterbirth. Also, it is generally women with a low-risk pregnancy that "qualify" for waterbirth. So, what are the factors that would rule you out from waterbirth... here are a just a few.
- Have Hepatitis B or C or HIV
- Have a high-risk pregnancy
- Require continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM)
- Have gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy)
- Are having a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)
I'm very excited to report that a Cochrane Review (which is a compilation of many qualified studies) was just released that indicated that there are no significant negative side effects of water birth for babies. This is a very welcome review because although in general we know that water birth is safe for moms and babies (with low risk pregnancies), more evidence in support of water birth means more options for more moms!
One of the reasons that hospitals have been reluctant or delayed in offering waterbirth as an option is because of the concern of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that waterbirth could be risky for babies.
This newer Cochrane review gives us more information in support of the safety of waterbirth for moms that are eligible. If you'd like more information about it you can click here to read the article summary: http://www.cochrane.org/news/featured-review-immersion-water-during-labour-and-birth
So let's get right down to talking about the benefits of waterbirth. Here are just a few...
- Pain relief
- Less perineal tearing
- More calm birthing environment for mom and baby (easier extrauterine transition)
- Opportunity for partner involvement (partner can be in the tub with mom)
Additionally, here are some more resources about waterbirth: https://evidencebasedbirth.com/waterbirth/