Can Water Birth Put Your New Born at Risk?

You have completed the nine months of your pregnancy successfully and without any complications. You have decided to go all natural with everything including your delivery. You are all set to welcome your new born in your life. The room is set with natural theme and all the animal toys and trees. It looks like right out of a story from jungle book. You have kept in mind the theme while shopping the clothes for the baby.

The wardrobe is set with all bright animal baby clothes because you love Simba from lion King and you want your child to be as brave as Mufasa. You have added koala baby clothes in this collection as well because who doesn’t adore cute little koalas?

So everything is all set but have you considered which delivery method are you going to choose for your baby’s birth? Are you going all natural in this regard as well? Are you planning to opt water birth? Before you make any solid decision let’s just take a look whether water birth is safe for your baby or not?

What is Water Birth?

Before going into details it is important to understand what is water birth and how does it work?

It means giving birth in a birthing pool which is filled with warm water. In this process you spend the time of your labour and delivery in a pool of warm water.

Some women opt for land birth. In land birth women spend part of their labour in the hot water tub and get out of the tub at the time of delivery. The baby is delivered on the dry land instead of birthing pool.

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Is Water Birth Safe?

The idea of water birth is becoming popular among mothers. Many midwives and nurses are in support of water birth but it is not widely practised by gynaecologists.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) are not in the favour of water birth due to rare but potential dangers and risks it can cause for baby. ACOG recommends that women can spend labour time in water but baby should be delivered on dry land for baby’s safety.

Water birth is becoming popular because it is believed that warm water reduces the stress of labour which results in reducing fetal complications during delivery. It is also considered that your baby spends nine months in amniotic fluid which is warm and wet. A water birth in the warm pool seems familiar to baby when they come into the world.

If you opt for water birth keep in mind that you consult to your doctor first regarding this option. It is important to know whether your pregnancy is without any complications and safe enough to go for it or not. It should always happen under the supervision of qualified healthcare practitioner.

Benefits of Water Birth

Benefits of Water Birth for Mother

Whether you go for water birth or land birth it is comforting to start labour in warm water as it:

  • is relaxing and soothing so helps lower high blood pressure
  • Reduces the time of labour
  • Lessens the labour pain
  • Helps improve and strengthen the stamina
  • Saves and increases your energy for delivery time
  • Allows free movement because of the effect of buoyancy
  • Decreases perineal trauma
  • Helps perineum to become more relaxed and flexible which reduces the need for episiotomy
  • Lessens the amount of postpartum blood loss

Benefits of Water Birth for Baby

Water birth is considered to have benefits for baby as well as it:

  • provides familiar environment as of the womb with warm and wet amniotic sac
  • is comforting and decreases the trauma of birth
  • makes baby feel secured

Risks of Water Birth

There are few rare potentially dangerous situations and risks in water birth.

  • The water might get contaminated which can result in increased of infection for baby
  • There is a risk of baby getting pneumonia
  • There is a possible risk of drowning
  • There is a chance of getting water into baby’s lungs if by any chance baby remains under water for too long
  • There is very little chance of baby inhaling the water if by any chance umbilical cord becomes twisted. (It is a rare theoretical risk because babies are programmed to inhale only when they are exposed to air)
  • There might be a risk of meconium aspiration, again, if baby inhales water
  • There can be a risk of regulating baby’s body temperature
  • There might be a risk of umbilical cord damage

Why You Shall not Have Water Birth?

It is important to know why and when you should opt out of water birth as it is the matter of life and death not only for you but for your baby as well. It is not recommended to go for water birth if:

  • You already have had a complicated labour or delivery
  • You already have had C-section
  • You are a patient of diabetes, hypertension or herpes
  • You have complicated pregnancy like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes
  • You are expecting twins or multiples
  • You are having premature delivery
  • Your baby is in breech position
  • You need continuous electronic fetal monitoring

We hope this article proved to be of help in deciding whether you want to opt water birth or not. Whatever you choose we recommend you to visit your doctor and ask his suggestions to have a safe delivery.

Rosie M. Jordan

Hello my name is Rosie. I am a 36-year-old SAHM to an energetic little boy called Andrew. We love reading, Toddler Sense, the library and trips to the park. To get in touch you can email us

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