Waterbirth Explained

Waterbirth Explained

Waterbirth is when a baby is born into a pool of water. Some women will labor in a pool, but not deliver the baby in the water; this is “water immersion” and a type of hydrotherapy. So what happens when a baby is born in the water?  Why is this a method of delivery?

The idea behind waterbirthing is the baby goes from one environment (the liquid filled womb) to a similar environment.  This is a more gentle transition for the baby.  The infant will not breath in the water ( Science of why ), nor do they need to as they are still receiving their oxygen via blood from the umbilical cord.  They will be gentle escorted up to the surface and generally placed on the mother’s chest for skin-to-skin.

This is a method of delivery for many reasons.  Both waterbirthing and water immersion have the substantial impact of less force on the mother and more freedom to move freely.  The mother can move with more ease in the water and sometimes it simply is a way to relieve pressure from the back. Other stated perks taken from waterbirth.org are:

  • shorter labor times
  • significant pain relief
  • reduced intervention
  • reduced drugs
  • more energy for mother
  • promotes relaxation

Scientific research behind these claims is a bit weak, though a Cochrane review of waterbirth and water immersion concluded:

This review includes 12 trials (3243 women). Water immersion during the first stage of labour significantly reduced epidural/spinal analgesia requirements, without adversely affecting labour duration, operative delivery rates, or neonatal wellbeing. One trial showed that immersion in water during the second stage of labour increased women’s reported satisfaction with their birth experience.

Waterbirth in Dubai

Waterbirth in Dubai is currently offered at Al Zahra and City hospitals.  Al Zahra has 4 rooms with birth pools, but only one is allowed for birthing in.  This is because the temperature is kept exactly at one temperature that is optimal for both baby and mother.  The other three pools can be used at any point during labor but not for pushing.

City hospital installed birth pools in the summer of 2017.

Saudi German has birth pools as well but so far the hospital policy does not allow for the birth to happen in the pool, it is for water immersion only.

Waterbirth Resources

Cochrane Review

Evidence Based Birth Review

Guidelines for the safe use of Water Immersion

Water Birth Basics from guru Barbara Harper

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