Water birth requires prior preparation. The expectant mother must take classes from the fifth month, when she learns to breathe correctly, tense up and relax. These are often supplemented by gymnastic exercises. Two or three weeks before, a discussion must take place between the mother and the doctor or midwife, who will explain to her how the labor will proceed.
Less pain, faster recovery
Water has a relaxing effect on the muscles, so labor is shorter and less painful. For the fetus, the transition from the intrauterine to the extrauterine environment is gradual and less traumatic.
The expectant mother is placed in heated water when the contractions are more and more frequent. Because water has an antispasmodic effect, pain is alleviated, muscles relax, and the cervix dilates more easily. The mother breathes better, which ensures a well-being for the baby.
Also thanks to the water, the risk of vaginal tears decreases, and the episiotomy (sectioning of the superficial muscles of the perineum) is, most of the time, not necessary. The period of being in the water is limited to 1-2 hours with breaks of 15-30 minutes. The newborn can stay in the water for several minutes.
After a water birth, recovery is much faster, and discharge is possible within 24 hours, if no complications arise.
Increased risk of infections
The greatest risk to which the mother and the baby are subjected is that of contracting an infection, because they are very sensitive at the time of birth. The bathtub must be sanitized, and the water – analyzed to eliminate the risk of bacterial contamination.
Also, the amount of maternal blood lost is difficult to assess.
If the mother suffers from various diseases (diabetes, kidney, lung or heart diseases), does not feel comfortable in the water or is in an advanced state of fatigue due to labor, has AIDS, hepatitis B or another contagious disease, if she has infusions are needed or the fetus is in an inadequate position, the birth cannot be done in water.