WATER BIRTH is a widely popular choice of birth method, when permitted by circumstances.
The psychologically relaxing effect of water also causes physical relaxation, reducing the pain sensation.
The less pain the mother feels, the easier it is for her to relax.
The practice of taking regular showers or immersing one’s self in water prior to laboring is called HYDROTHERAPY.
And delivering a baby when immersed in water is called Water Birth (WB).
The terms hydrotherapy and water birth are used synonymously.
In water birth, usually the mother is immersed in water for as long as she wishes comfortable doing so before labor, to use the relaxing and pain-relieving effects of water.
The baby may not necessarily be delivered while immersed in water; delivery may occur out of water.
Every delivery is unique, involving different circumstances and processes. Therefore, the decision to have the baby born while inside water is made at the moment.
It is difficult to know it for certain beforehand.
If the baby is born inside water, the placenta may be also delivered while immersed.
In some cases, placenta may be extracted while out of water.
Usually, the decision to be immersed or come out of water is made based on the circumstances of the mother at that moment.
The delivery team is flexible in their decision.
EFFECTS OF WATER ON LABOR:
Water has a number of physiological and psychological effects on the mother and the fetus.
When immersed in water:
- the secretion of endorphins, the natural painkillers of our body, is augmented, resulting in reduced sensation of pain.
- all muscles and pelvic bones are relieved, reducing the mother’s stress level.
- blood circulation across the body is increased, resulting in higher oxygen for tissues and for the fetus.
- these factors work together to increase a complication-free delivery, reduce the need for episiotomy, minimize damage to the perineal region and reduce the need for cesarean.
- the duration of labor is decreased, and delivery occurs faster and easier.
- the satisfaction of the mother, her relatives and the gestational team is increased.
- the infants who have been delivered while immersed in water are notably calmer and more peaceful, and they have a higher awareness of their surroundings.
- the sensation of water is similar to the surroundings inside the mother’s womb.
- It has been observed that babies who were delivered in water usually appear better physiologically and psychologically compared to others.
- Water birth provides deep relaxation, minimizing the need for medical intervention, and delayed cutting of the cord allows continued contact between the infant and the mother.
- Water birth provides a calmer, meditative and physiological experience to both the mother and the infant.
TESTIMONY OF A MOTHER WHO GAVE BIRTH WHILE IMMERSED IN WATER:
I had decided to give birth under water. My delivery time was closing. We were all excited, and the level of stress was high for all of my family. After week 38, my mother began advising me that I should have the baby already, the fetus remained inside too long, and that it could be unhealthy and complications could occur. But despite their constant nagging, I found in myself the strength to wait patiently for my baby, thanks to my husband’s support and Ms. Sevilay’s encouraging words. And at Day 40+1, we had our baby, but up to that point, my mother kept telling us unfortunate experiences of other mothers. My labor began. I was transferred to hospital. It was only hours now until I could hold my baby daughter in my arms. My cramps became more frequent and they immersed me in water. And from that point on, everything went very smoothly. Being immersed in water relaxed me so much that I was very calm throughout. Everything went normal and I delivered vaginally as was my original intention. It was an amazingly intimate moment with my daughter; finally, I delivered her while under water, and I hugged her. I cannot find the right words to describe my happiness. I am very happy to have chosen to give birth under water.