Many women look forward to a happy and healthy delivery of their baby. While there are some medical conditions that make it less ideal for giving birth at home, this is a dream for a lot of mothers-to-be.
A growing number of these women are looking at a water birth for themselves, as well.
What is Home Water Birth?
A home water birth is often considered a safe and gentle way to bring a child into the world. This is a stark contrast to the harsh, bright lights that await a newborn in a hospital’s maternity wing.
A water birth happens at home in a tub or pool full of warm water, which is thought to simulate the environment within the womb. Furthermore, it reduces the perception of pain for the laboring mother. Some even suggest that this method of delivery can speed up the entire process of labor due to the relaxation provided by this warmth.
If you’re considering this method of delivery, here are some pros and cons that you should consider before making your decision.
What are the Pros of Home Water Birth?
Home water birth allows you to give birth in familiar surroundings. This is a huge draw for many mothers seeking a way to safely give birth as naturally as possible.
Home water births have minimal intervention by medical staff and allow a laboring mother freedom of movement. She can change positions as she feels she should. Many who have undertaken home births believe that the body knows what to do and should be allowed to do what feels natural to them during this process.
A bonus of birth at home is that your baby is delivered into the family without enduring strange people, and unknown voices. It is believed that babies in utero could hear their family members’ voices. These births allow immediate bonding between mother and child and skin-to-skin contact with the parents right away.
In 15 randomized trials conducted by Cochrane of 3663 women, which compared women who labored in water and women who did not, the results were varied. Water immersion in the first stage of labor resulted in fewer women needing an epidural for pain relief.
The trials did not indicate any significant risks to either mother or baby when a woman has a low-risk, complication-free pregnancy. If the idea of having a baby in a hospital doesn’t appeal to you and you are a healthy woman, having a home water birth may be an attractive option for you.
What are the Cons of Home Water Birth?
Many health care professionals do not recommend home birth for women with pre-existing health conditions or who have pregnancy-related complications.
The American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists have stated that “until such data are available, it is the recommendation of the College that birth occur on land, not in water,” and that any woman expressing interest in this kind of delivery should be advised of the risk to herself and her fetus during labor and that there does exist a degree of risk when a baby is delivered in the water.
They do recognize this kind of birth is becoming more popular, yet won’t recommend it until more detailed and thorough studies on this kind of delivery have been conducted.
It’s important to note, as well, that Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 can be transmitted in the water from a mother to her baby, and water birth is not considered safe for these mothers under any circumstance.
Delivering at home in warm water is considered low-risk for women carrying one baby and good health with no pregnancy complications. Yet, due to a lack of thorough studies, many healthcare practitioners cannot fully endorse these births simply because not enough is known about the outcomes.
Not every woman is a good candidate and women carrying more than one baby should consider delivering in a hospital setting or birthing center. But there are midwives and some doctors who will support a mother who chooses to deliver at home in a pool of warm water. You should always seek out pregnancy care from someone who will support your desires while being honest with you about the kind of outcome you should expect.
Consider what is best for yourself and what will most likely result in a healthy baby at the end of it, since that should be the goal of any birth plan. Research your choices and choose a plan that you feel suits you best. Good luck and best wishes on a happy and safe delivery!