The Truth About Delivering Via Waterbirth: Benefits and Risks


Most women opt for the conventional childbirth method of lying down, often inside a hospital delivery room, with the supervision of doctors. There are, however, other methods of birth available for women with different conditions and preferences. One such option is water-assisted childbirth, more commonly known as water birth.

Water-assisted childbirth involves the immersion of the pregnant woman in warm water, a method that is done to replicate the environment inside the amniotic sac on which the baby has been staying for the past nine months before birth.

This is done inside a bathtub at home or at birthing pools. If the procedure is done at home, water-birth-trained medical practitioners must still administer this. A Doppler device monitors the baby’s heartbeat while on labor.

This childbirth method is believed to ease contractions and also is completely safe. While there are those who advocate for water birth because of its ability to considerably lessen the pain experienced by mothers during childbirth, critics also point to such risks as infections, water inhalation, and drowning for newborn infants.

Benefits of Water Birth

Hydrotherapy–the essence of water birth–has been a proven effective in reducing pain felt during childbirth. Women who have undergone water birth have especially attested to its ability to reduce lower back pain–a common concern for pregnant women.

Studies have also shown that water-assisted childbirth helps redistribute blood volume in the mother’s body, thereby triggering the release of oxytocin and vasopressin. Water births, from experience, are also found to allow for more gravitational pull via through the buoyancy of the mother and the baby, opening up the mother’s pelvis and allowing for an easier childbirth altogether.

Water-assisted childbirth also stretches the perineum, decreasing the risk of skin tears during childbirth. The water offers perineal support to the baby’s head, decreasing the risk for tearing and reducing possibilities of episiotomy.

Risks of Water Birth

Most recorded complications in water birth have arisen from carelessness from care providers during the childbirth process. On a case-to-case basis, water-assisted childbirth poses threats to the infant if not administered properly.

Some point to a slower labor–fewer contractions mean slower labor. Still, medical experts say that this is on a case-to-case basis.

Still, water inhalation is also possible when babies gasp while still in the tub. This, in turn, could lead to a really small supply of sodium in the blood, called hyponatremia.

There is always the case of contamination or contacting infection from dirty water, so make sure you’re putting a clean supply for your childbirth. Mothers with herpes should not undergo the procedure, since she may pass on the disease to her newborn baby through the water.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here