Baby being born in water: what's a water birth like?

There is no doubt that immersion in water can relieve pain, particularly in the early stages of labor. The warmth of the water helps relax your muscles and the buoyancy of the water also supports your body, thereby relieving some of the pressure of the baby's head pressing down in your pelvis.

Provided that your membrane have not ruptured, you can enjoy sitting in a warm bath either at home or in the maternity unit, for as long as you like during the early stages of labor.

Most water-assisted births do not actually take place under water in the birthing pool. Even if you spend most of the first and second stage of labor in the water, most midwives will prefer you to be on " dry land" when the baby is actually born. They will want to ensure that they have maximum access yo you and your baby in the final critical stages of the delivery and also because not all midwives are experienced in supervising water births.

In the past, fears were expressed that delivering a baby underwater might lead to problems with him inhaling water into lungs as the first breath is taken. This is unlikely to happen if the baby is brought to the surface quickly, since the umbilical cord continues to deliver a good supply of oxygen for several minutes after the birth, providing it is not cut.

The other concern is that the mother's body temperature may rise if she remains immersed in warm water for a long period of time. This will result in the baby developing a high temperature and increased heart beat, which could lead to hypoxia ( low oxygen level). This is why your midwife will be checking your temperature regularly and will advise to leave the birthing pool if your temperature increases by more than 1.8F during labor or delivery.

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