Expectant mothers know that they have choices now when it comes to how they give birth. Some have opted for the traditional method, others go for Lamaze, while others have started looking into water births. What is the latter trend all about and how is it good for the baby?
For some, this may seem like a trend. They think that giving birth in an operating room is still the safest choice there is. However, new findings show that water birth may be the best way to go. Researchers have been able to see the many benefits that come with it.
It has been found that water births provide “clear benefits,” particularly for healthy moms and their infants. This was according to new research that was made. It has been shown that giving birth in a tub leads to fewer medical interventions and complications. This was for during and after the birth. They compared the findings to standard deliveries. More importantly, water levels produce higher levels of satisfaction for the mothers.
There was large review made and this consisted of 36 previous studies. All these found that water births “significantly reduced” the need for epidurals, injected opioids, pain, and the heavy bleeding that may happen after childbirth.
So, what exactly is a water birth? First of all, this means that a birthing pool is involved. This is used to relax the mother and to alleviate the pain. They can choose to either exit the pool during the actual birth in order to allow the newborn to breathe the air. Others choose to remain in the birthing pool the entire time and bring the infant to the surface so that he or she can begin breathing.
The researchers wanted to look into the need for healthcare interventions during and after labor and compare the two different types of water birth. They also wanted to see if outcomes were different between a water birth and standard hospital care that we have come to know. To do this, they analyzed the 36 previous studies made, all of which were published between 2000 and 2021 and involving around 150,000 women.
The studies also considered a range of interventions and outcomes of methods including induced labor, artificial breaking of waters, use of epidurals, admission to intensive care, and breastfeeding. Lead author of the study is Dr. Ethel Burns from Oxford Brookes University. She said the data analysis that was published in BMJ Open showed that a water birth, whether it was with those who gave birth in or out of the pool, “has clear benefits to women” in obstetric units. These was where units were used with healthcare interventions and where complications are more likely than in midwife-led units. The fact that they gave birth in water increased the satisfaction levels of moms. It also increased the chances of them going home with a perineum that was intact.
Water births also brought about lower chances of augmentation, episiotomy, and the need for pharmacological analgesia. The findings of the study proved that there were more instances of umbilical cord breakage among water births. Still, but the rate remained low compared to the others: 4.3 per 1,000 births in water. This was compared to the 1.3 per 1,000 births with standard care. The researchers somewhat pointed to the fact that the problem could be linked to pulling on the umbilical cord when the newborn is brought out of the water by the healthcare professional.
“Water immersion provides benefits for the mother and newborn when used in the obstetric setting, making water immersion a low-tech intervention for improving quality and satisfaction,” said Dr. Burns.