I remember toying with the idea of a water birth with my first two children. I can’t say I thought of the idea on my own. I watched a water birth on television and was amazed by the fact that an infant can be born into the water and swim to the surface. Moving from liquid environment to liquid environment must be an easier transition than moving from the comfort of the womb to the stark, loud, bright delivery room. Before I was able to make my final decision my pregnancies took a medical turn and I was forced to give birth via C-section, but I still think about how awesome it would have been to have a water birth.
The Risks May Outweigh the Benefits
Well after all four of my children were born I found myself again wondering about water births. After a little research I realized I was happy I didn’t have the luxury of deciding on my own. Water births take place in large pools of water. Some birthing centers and hospitals offer water births, making the water birth less dangerous as medical personnel and advanced treatment is available in minutes if something were to go wrong. Other water births take place outside of medical care in a bathtub at home or a birthing center not affiliated with a hospital. In these cases, water births may be more dangerous if complications arise.
Who Can Consider a Water Birth?
Water births are only an option for women experiencing complication-free pregnancies. If there are any pregnancy complications, infections or worries that the labor or delivery may have issues requiring advanced medical care, water births are generally considered too dangerous. Women must be at least 37 weeks pregnant when labor starts to even consider a water birth.
Clinical research on water births is lacking and the possible complications may outweigh the rewards for some women. Before making your final decision about having a water birth, talk to your physician or a care provider that specializes in water births. Knowing more is always the best way to prepare for the final decision.