Everything You Need to Know About Having a Water Birth

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Plan your water birth with this handy guide.

If you are expecting a baby soon, then chances are you have done all the research possible about what type of birth you would like to have. For pregnant mommas, having a natural birth is one of the best ways to go. One of the many popular types of natural births to have is a water birth. If having a water birth is something that you are aiming for, then you are in for a treat. Today, we will go over everything you need to know about having a successful water birth. Let's get started.  

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Why Have a Natural Water Birth? 

There are many things to consider when you are debating whether or not to have a water birth. For women who have gone through successful water births, here are some of the top reasons that helped propelled them in making that decision.

1. Natural is Better

For many women, having a water birth can be such a rewarding experience. For starter, you are giving your body the opportunity to do what it has always been meant to do. Giving birth without medical assistance is as natural as it comes. Being pregnant in general can be a challenging experience to go through and water births help alleviate some of that stress.

Along with that, many women love being able to feel their pregnancy from start to finish despite the discomfort and pain that pregnancy brings with it. Along with that, when you have a water birth, you free yourself from the constraints that a traditional hospital birth will grant you. For example, you don’t have to be strapped or tied down to any uncomfortable medical equipment.

2. Water Births are a Better Way to Bond With Your Baby

There are several ways you can give birth.  In most cases, you may be hooked up to a monitor machine to track your progress. It is not uncommon to be strapped to an IV that will give you fluids and pain medication as well. When you are all strapped up, it may not feel natural to bond with your baby once you give birth. The good news is, all of this is eliminated when you have a water birth. When you are in the water, it is simply you and your baby. The moment your baby gets delivered, you will have the opportunity to bond with them instantly without obstruction. Many women prefer having water births because of this unobstructed bonding time.

3. Natural Pain Relief

If you plan on having a water birth, then you will be pleased to know that water births can be so helpful when it comes to the aches and pains of labor. Once your contractions start to hit, getting inside a warm tub of water can help alleviate some of the pain. If you are having a lot of back labor, the warm water can also help soothe this. As always, with any water birth, you want to make sure that the temperature of the water is nice and even and not dangerous for your baby.

4. Easy Movement During Labor

One of the best things about having a water birth is the fact that you are not tied down to one position. You can move around freely and adjust yourself accordingly. Once you go into active labor and you really start to feel your contractions, you will be thankful for the freedom of movement. You will be able to get yourself in a range of positions that will help make your labor less painful. For some moms, it is not uncommon to bring along a birthing ball into the water for additional support. This is because situating yourself on the birthing ball is another great way to help alleviate some of the pain you will feel.

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I Want a Water Birth, Now What? 

Once you have decided that having a water birth is the way that you want to go, you may have some additional concerns. Here are some of the top things you should consider when having a water birth.

Where to Have a Water Birth

Ask any mom who has gone to a hospital to give birth, and they will likely tell you that their birth plan did not go as expected. While it is unreasonable to expect that your birth plan will go uninterrupted, especially when you are writing a c-section birth plan, the unexpected surprises can still be stressful nonetheless. If you plan to deliver your baby at a hospital via water birth, you should be prepared to know that your birth plan will not go exactly as planned. For this reason, many moms choose to have their water birth either at home or at a birthing center.

1. Water Births at a Birthing Center

When you have your water birth at a birthing center, there is less intimidation surrounding you. For starters, hospitals tend to intimidate pregnant women rather quickly. This can lead many pregnant moms to make decisions like accepting medication and other monitoring when they otherwise would not have. This compliance can quickly lead any pregnant mom into any unnecessary pregnancy interventions. When you give birth at a birthing center, the intimidation of doctors is replaced with a calming and relaxing atmosphere.

3. Water Births at Home

For some moms, another option they may choose as far as where to have a water birth is at home. Many moms who choose to go with a doula will opt to have a water birth at home too. Having a water birth at home comes with so many benefits. For starters, you are literally in the comfort of your home. There is not much intimidation as far as being in an unfamiliar environment doing things that you do not want to do.

If you do choose to have a water birth at home, then it is imperative that you have a medical professional such as a doctor or midwife with you too. This will be especially helpful if something were to go awry and you would need medical intervention.

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Who Should Be at Your Water Birth?

As previously mentioned, having a medical professional with you when you have your water birth is so imperative. If anything were to go wrong or if you were to have any complications, a medical professional can help as needed.

If you have a midwife or doula, then they will need to be present at your water birth as well.  Your midwife can help you with monitoring the progress of your labor as well as assisting with the birth. A doula is a great person to have at your water birth too for similar reasons. Doulas are wonderful because they help give you a strong support system. Not only that, but your doula will encourage you and motivate you throughout your labor. This can be extremely beneficial especially when the pain sets in. Finally, having a spouse can be another source of support for you during your water birth. Your spouse can assist you by doing things like rubbing your back and rubbing your feet.

Am I a Candidate For having a Water Birth? 

Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for having a water birth.  There are some factors that you should consider when you are trying to figure out whether or not you would be a great candidate for a water birth. Current standards dictate that you might not be a good candidate for a water birth if  any of the following applies to you

  • You are younger than 17 and are older than 35
  • Having pregnancy complications such as  preeclampsia or gestational diabetes,( or diabetes in general)
  • Expecting more than one baby
  • Your baby is not at full term or is being delivered prematurely
  • You are having a large baby
  •  If your baby is not in the proper position (such as breech)

Risks

While many moms are opting to have water births, there are some risks you should be aware of as well.

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1. Emergency C-Sections

The number one risk when you are having a water birth is the fact that you are not in a hospital or close to one. This means that if a complication were to arise you would need to get to a location where you can get immediate medical attention. In some cases, an emergency C-section will be needed. If this is the case it is imperative to be close to a facility that can accommodate. Time is of the utmost importance when you need an emergency c-section, so be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before you plan on having a water birth.

2. Risk of Infection 

Some other risk factors that you should keep in mind is that you may possibly get an infection if you are not using sterile material. Be sure to have high standards in place before you have your water birth. For example, make sure that the birthing tub is clean and well-maintained.  Along with that, one of the best things you can do to avoid complications is to make sure that you and your baby are monitored throughout the whole experience by your healthcare provider.

3. Stay Hydrated

Finally, be sure to drink plenty of water. Getting dehydrated can have serious side effects if you do not stay on top of your water intake during labor. Again, if you plan on having a water birth then having a licensed hair health professional through your labor and delivery can help you steer clear of any possible complications such as dehydration.

Final Thoughts

Having a water birth may not be for everyone. However, some moms may choose to go this route. If you do decide that having a water birth is the best option for you and your family, then it is best to take the proper measures to make sure that your labor and delivery is successful.

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