Birth is a sacred affair. Nature has provided mothers and babies with inherent wisdom to bring about birth. Hence, it is important to retain humanness in labour and birth instead of only mechanics.
Birth events influence human qualities and hence current and future societies. A Gentle Birth will, hence, create a Gentle Earth. Waterbirth embraces both of these principles of:
- Natural Childbirth
- Gentle birth.
Waterbirth takes place in specially designed birthing pools and has two components:
- Immersion in water during labour
- Birth under water i.e. baby is born fully submerged into water
Why Water birthing?
Immersion in water during labour and birth is associated with perception of deep relaxation, pain relief, ease of movements and a sense of control over one’s birth process without adversely affecting labour duration, operative delivery rates and neonatal well-being.
How mother benefits?
- The buoyancy and equalized hydrostatic pressure promotes more efficient contractions, better blood circulation, more oxygen to baby and mother
- Pain significantly reduced by blocking nerve impulses of pain to the brain known as the Gate Theory of Pain
- It serves as safer and more effective non-pharmacologic means of pain relief.
- It reduces the length of labour and even facilitates dysfunctional labour.
- It provides greater mobility for maternal positioning during labor and birth, reduced pressure at the perineum (the mouth of birth canal) and reduces birth canal injuries
- It relaxes the perineum, hence reducing chances of episiotomies (surgical incision of perineum for enlarging the opening)
- The natural process helps conservation of maternal energy
- More trust in the process. By the feeling of weightlessness, the woman can concentrate on letting her body do what it was designed to do. Thus, it alleviates pain and optimizes progress of her labour.
- Warm water stops false labor contractions
- Parent-child interactions are enhanced if the mother goes through positive experience in her body, mind and spirit while bringing child to the planet
- Reduction of Cesareans
How baby benefits?
- Water birthing is an easier and more gentle transition of the baby from one womb of water to an external womb of water, weightless, warm, wet and soft
- It leads to decreased trauma at birth
- The baby gets more blood due to better blood circulation in mother
- Baby doesn’t receive the invasive stimuli to induce breathing, which results in less crying. Therefore, after birth babies are comparatively calmer and in a more alert state
- Cord cutting after birth is delayed until it stops pulsating
- Less problems with breastfeeding after birth
How does the baby breathe during a waterbirth?
Several factors prevent a baby from inhaling water at the time of birth. These inhibitory factors are normally present in all healthy newborns and prevent them from taking a breath until they are lifted from water up into the air.
If the baby were in trouble during the labour, it may then gasp as soon as it was born, possibly inhaling water into the lungs. Such trouble is usually noted as wide variability in fetal heart rate resulting in prolonged Bradycardia and the mother is asked to leave the bath prior to baby’s birth.