Water births for fewer medical procedures and complications

wellness and fitness

Water births for fewer medical procedures and complications


During pregnancy, women generally strive to adopt a healthy lifestyle and undergo prenatal care necessary for their own well-being and the growth of the fetus.

Aside from best practices, health experts note that the care provided during the hours leading up to delivery, as well as when the actual birth takes place, is also extremely important.

For healthy women with otherwise normal pregnancies, vaginal deliveries performed in hospitals, on delivery beds, are often a preference for many mothers. However, some women opt for water births, which have grown in popularity over the years.


Water birth allows the mother to experience labor and delivery in a tub of warm water. She can also choose to go through labor pains while she is in the water and then have the actual birth on ‘dry land’, in a hospital bed instead of in the water.

Whatever the case, health professionals such as doctors, nurses, or midwives are usually required to help women perform the water birth procedure.

Findings from a new study published in the British Medical Journal Open support this method and indicate that it offers benefits to mothers and their newborns, compared to normal deliveries where no water is used.

Specifically, the results of the study show that water births are associated with fewer medical interventions or procedures, as well as complications. It also offers mothers higher levels of satisfaction and experience in childbirth.

According to research, water births significantly reduce the use of epidurals or injected opioids (medicines) that are usually given for pain relief during labor and delivery. They also reduce the risk of hemorrhage or heavy bleeding after childbirth, which can be life-threatening in affected mothers and lead to death.

In addition, water births have been found to relieve tears in a woman’s perineum (area between the vagina and anus). Those that do usually require a procedure known as an episiotomy, where doctors are forced to cut the perineum to prevent a severe tear or to speed up labor if the baby needs to be delivered quickly.

Water births are also believed to keep the baby calm, ensuring a safe delivery with minimal complications or difficulties that could affect your health.

“Water immersion can significantly increase the likelihood of an intact perineum and reduces the chances that women will undergo the episiotomy procedure, which can increase postnatal pain and anxiety, and negatively impact a woman’s birth experience. woman,” say the researchers.

The results emanated from the analysis of numerous studies on childbirth experiences that involved 157,546 women.

low-tech intervention

Overall, the study findings showed that a water birth was as safe as standard care for healthy mothers and their newborns. But the former was found to offer additional benefits to mothers.

“Water immersion provides benefits for the mother and newborn when used in the obstetric setting, making water immersion a low-tech intervention to improve quality and satisfaction with care. It is an effective method to reduce pain in labor, without increasing the risk”, the researchers concluded.

Despite the benefits associated with water births, health experts say that precautions should be taken to avoid certain risks associated with this method of delivery.

As a basic requirement, a water birth must be performed under the supervision of a certified healthcare professional experienced in assisting with labor and delivery. High standards of hygiene and cleanliness of the tub filled with water should be maintained to prevent infection.

The temperature of the water in the bathtub should also be well regulated (maintained at human body temperature), while mothers should be encouraged to drink water during childbirth to avoid dehydration.

Most importantly, plans should be made to facilitate the prompt extraction of the mother from the water and transport to a hospital, should unforeseen medical problems arise.

Due to the high-risk nature of their pregnancies, the following people are cautioned not to have water births: women under the age of 17 or over the age of 35; mothers with complications such as pre-eclampsia or diabetes; women who have twins or multiple babies; mothers with premature, large or breech babies.

Dr. Sikolia Wanyonyi, a gynecologist and fetal health specialist at Aga Khan University Hospital, notes that water births should only be considered among healthy women with low-risk pregnancies.

“They should not have underlying conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, as well as those who have had previous caesarean sections or surgical delivery. Mothers whose water bag has ruptured prematurely should not undergo water births,” he says.

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