Giving birth is a holistic experience accompanied by emotional surge and a lot of pain. There have debates about the best procedure for child birth, be it natural birth, cesarean birth or even the latest trend, water birth. Just in case you don’t know, water birth is the method of giving birth in a tub of warm water.
The hypothesis behind water birth is that “since the baby has already been in the amniotic fluid sac for nine months, birthing in a similar environment is gentler for the baby and less stressful for the mother”, according to American Pregnancy Association. While few women choose to labour in the water and get out for delivery others stay in the water for the delivery as well.
A recent video of a woman giving birth in a water tub has gone viral and has raised questions about its safety. The video posted by Midwife Lisa Marie Sanchez Oxenham shows her client Audra Lynn giving birth in a tub of water. The footage has bewildered social media users because the baby is seamlessly born after only a few contractions and she seems amazingly calm. The clip, uploaded to Instagram and Facebook, has had more than 18 million views since it was uploaded on September 3. Oxenham caught the final push in the video with a blissful ending when Lynn brings the baby to her chest and offers the first kiss.
According to a report by Parents.com, Barbara Harper, R N, founder of Waterbirth International, a non-profit organisation that helps make water births an available option for moms-to-be, says, “Labour during a water birth can be much less painful for a pregnant woman.” She further adds, “A baby is actually an aquatic animal, receiving all of its oxygen supply from the placental circulation and bypassing its own lungs. The placenta acts as the filtration system and the breathing system for the baby in the womb. When the baby emerges into the water, that same system is still at work.”
The basic concern that surrounds this form of birth procedure is that the baby might be prone to infection as mothers worry that she may release stool in the bath, which would contaminate the water. However, Harper assures that overall infection rates for water births are reported to be less than .01 per cent. “If your baby is breech, if you’ve been diagnosed with excessive bleeding or maternal infection, if you’re having multiples, or if pre-term labour is expected, you’ll have to discuss with your healthcare provider whether you’re a candidate for a water birth,” she says.
It is believed, the buoyancy of the water lessens a would-be-mother’s body weight, allowing her free movement. “Buoyancy promotes more efficient uterine contractions and improved blood circulation resulting in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, less pain for the mother, and more oxygen for the baby,” says a report in the American Pregnancy Association report.
There may be benefits and risks to every birth procedure, but it is always advisable that every would-be-mother must access her situation in consultation with a doctor and then decide the best form of birth.