Water Birth Information - Natural Birth

Every once in a while a major breakthrough occurs that has the potential to affect the world for good. That statement excludes technology, which seems to have the corner on world-changing events. Although the subject of this writing is non-technical, it has made a powerful impact upon the way life begins on the planet for many people and it has the potential to be used and to benefit millions of people world-wide. The breakthrough is something that has been termed "gentle birth" and is known widely as water birth.

What is Water Birth?

As its name implies, water birth is giving birth in water, and while it is still considered to be an alternative birthing method - since many doctors are not convinced it is safe - it is a preference in many hospitals. Water birth can be a home birth, using a bathtub or a special tub that can be purchased or rented that is specifically designed for the purpose. It is natural birth, which means that if there is a need for drugs, this isn't the way to have the baby.

The concept of the water birth is that the water in the pool or tub is warm enough to replicate the amniotic sac in which the baby has grown and lived for the duration of gestation. There is much evidence to show that babies born in water are calmer and more relaxed than babies born in other situations. During a water birth, the baby is monitored closely to ensure there are no problems. A special underwater Doppler device monitors the baby's heartbeat.

The Benefits of Water Birth

The benefits of water birth are many. The mother has a greater sense of ease and mobility. She can move easily in the water, which buoys her, and can change position whenever she feels she needs to in order to assist her baby's descent. The water reduces the amount of pressure on the abdomen, allowing for more efficient contractions and better blood circulation which means less pain for the mother and more oxygen for the baby. Since the buoyancy of water counteracts the pull of gravity, the mother's weight is supported and she can focus her energy on the contractions and giving birth. Water is a type of relaxant and as such promotes ease and peace, relaxing the pelvic floor muscles and minimizing pain. Blood pressure lowers when the body is quiet and anxiety is relieved.

The Risks of Water Birth

Of course, as with anything, there are also risks involved. Usually these risks are associated with pregnancy-related health concerns such as pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, diabetes, communicable diseases such as Herpes, and surgeries, including Lasik surgery (eye surgery). Since there has not been a lot of research completed on water births, there are few negative findings. Of the research that has been done, a few studies cite some very rare risks while most find that water births are as safe as, or safer than, bed births. One of the rare risks is that the baby will breathe in the water of the pool upon birth and therefore the potential for drowning is evident. There have been very rare cases of the umbilical cord snapping at birth requiring a blood transfusion, but this could happen during a bed birth as well. There is a possible risk of infection if the pool water is not clean. Isolated reports of babies being affected by contaminants have occurred, but other studies have found there is no addition risk of infection.

Learning More About Water Birth

Water birthing is a beautiful thing and there is no lack of water birth videos, water birth pictures, and water birth stories from which a person can glean water birth information and watch an actual birth. The birth of a baby is an incredibly moving experience at any time. It becomes even more powerful when it can be seen as it happens. Water birth information is available at birthing centers, hospitals, and of course, on the internet and in bookstores.

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