Water birth is an alternative way to give birth. It is referred to as ‘a gentle beginning for a new life’ as there is little transition as the baby has been in the amniotic fluid throughout the duration of pregnancy. Water can also provide an effective form of pain relief during labor and delivery.
This birth in water is popularized in Europe. In the Philippines, we have a couple of centers that offer it. It is quite safe, with advantages such as allowing the parturient to adopt various positions which contributes to relaxation and comfort and allows the perineum to stretch and relax for ease of delivery. Although one disadvantage is one can’t have epidural anesthesia for pain relief.
Obviously, the needs vary if the woman chooses a water bath, such as large bath towels, dressing gown, bikini or T-shirt while in the water bath pool. One must also remember to bring an inflatable pillow or float, and dextrose sweets to take.
With regards to the healthcare provider, note that not all obstetricians are trained and willing to do water births. If you’re considering going through a water birth, make sure to find a facility and trained team to help her achieve a positive pregnancy experience.
While in the water bath pool, there is continuous monitoring of the baby using a waterproof doppler to listen for the heartbeat. Spot doses of pain relief may also be provided. The husband can be with her during the labor and delivery. The temperature of the water is kept between 3 to 37 Celsius to simulate the temperature of the baby in the womb and at the same time ensures that the woman is comfortable.
If at any time, there is an indication to intervene, such as irregular heartbeat of the baby, the woman needs to leave the water bath pool and continue labor the traditional way. In the scenario of successful water birth, the baby is guided to the surface of water for the first breath. From here on the head of the baby should be prevented from going back to the water to avoid them from inhaling water. One can opt to finish the delivery with the placenta in or out of the water.
The final choice for water birth is included in the birth plan after all options have been discussed.
About The Expert
DR. CHRISTIA PADOLINA, OB-GYN
Dr. Christia S. Padolina is the president of the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society (POGS) Foundation Inc. It is the premiere organization of obstetricians and gynecologists nationwide.
It was a dream come true for her to become a physician. Her mother was sickly and she had so much expectations on the healthcare system being on the other side of the equation. She is a graduate of the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. It was there that she realized that she wanted to become an obstetrician Gynecologist. She does not mind waking up in the wee hours of the morning as she finds delivering babies exhilarating.
Her subspecialty in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the University of New Mexico in USA paved the way for better maternal care. She is locally and internationally known as an advocate for safe motherhood.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and do not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.