Less pain with water birth

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Childbirth in the water

How can you relieve the pains of childbirth naturally? Simple, with water. International studies confirm: during labor, being able to stay in water has a relaxed effect on the woman's body and helps to perceive less pain, so much so that among women who give birth in this way the demand for epidural anesthesia decreases. The birth in water it could also have other benefits for the mother, while part of the scientific community remains skeptical about the possibility of remaining immersed even for the expulsive phase of childbirth. Let's see how it works.





In this article

  • The advantages of water for the woman in childbirth
  • Water birth: when it can be done
  • How it takes place
  • Does the future dad feel excluded from water birth?

The advantages of water for the woman in childbirth

An article published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international initiative that deals with the critical review of the information available on health interventions, made an important point on what could be the advantages of water labor for the mother.



Putting together the results of various scientific investigations on the subject, the article concludes that immersion in water during labor reduces the use of anesthesia epidural or spinal and also the duration of labor itself. Not only that: other studies, reported in 2022 in the official position on labor and water birth of the Royal College of Midwives, an organization that brings together midwives in the United Kingdom, underline how this mode of birth helps women to feeling more relaxed, but also more "in control" of the situation. In other words, more "competent" than the birth that is about to arrive.

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On the other hand, there does not seem to be any differences between water birth and birth outside as regards the duration of the expulsive phase, the use of operative parts or emergency cesarean sections, the presence of perineal lesions. In other words, trying to give birth to a child underwater it does not increase the risk that something will go wrong and repairs will have to be made, nor that of undergoing lacerations of the perineum.

In fact, some studies have observed one in this regard decreased risk of lacerations with water birth, while others have not noticed any differences, and all women as long as pregnancy and labor are considered physiological, that is, low risk "says Gigliola Verdicchio, chief obstetrician of the Valdelsa Hospital in Poggibonsi (Siena), known as the Del Paeseno hospital of the 'sweet birth' par excellence.

Water birth: when it can be done

Here the selection of pregnant women who can access this possibility is made on the basis of the following criteria:

  • the pregnancy must be physiological (i.e. not at risk);
  • it does not have to be twin;
  • it must be completed (37-41 weeks);
  • the child must have the right cephalic presentation (not breech or transverse);
  • serological tests (such as that for HIV) must be negative for the safety of operators;
  • there must be no ongoing skin infections and fever;
  • labor must be well underway.

How it takes place

"The woman enters the tub, usually about 70 centimeters high, which is filled with hot water," says Verdicchio. "The temperature of the water in labor is kept around 36 ° C, while when we approach expulsion it increases to about 37 ° C. We do not go beyond these levels also for safety for the fetus".

"During her labor in the tub, the woman is free to move as she pleases, to be squatting, to float, to get up, but also - if you wish - to go out and back as many times as you like. "In short, she has full freedom of movement, an aspect considered fundamental by the proponents of sweet birth. However, she is often invited to drinking and going out to pee.

Obviously, the structures that offer this service must guarantee accurate hygienic standards of the tubs.

Read also: Childbirth in the water, everything that happens in 24 images

Does the future dad feel excluded from water birth?

"No, on the contrary," says Verdicchio. "Fathers are even more involved and if they want they can get into the water. Whether this happens or not depends on the intimacy of the couple. Sometimes it happens that the woman does not want anyone in the water with her, the tub becomes a bit like a den. In general, however, the partner is calmer in parts in the water because he sees that the woman is calmer and more serene. Often the man does not feel that sense of helplessness that he can feel instead in a birth where he feels the suffering of the woman prevail ".

Useful books on water birth

  • Being born in the water. The sweetest birth for the baby and for the mother, R. Fraioli and I. Bertolasi, Red edizioni
  • Manual of water birth, J. Balaskas and Y. Gordon, Red editions
  • For a birth without violence, F. Leboyer, Bompiani
  • Aquatic preparation for childbirth, P. Greco and R. Palma, Red Edizioni

TAG:
  • birth in water
  • childbirth pain
  • labor
  • contractions
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