Water birth

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Water Birth


The act of giving birth in water is so incredibly simple. A mother submerges herself in warm, body temperature water during her labour. If she feels like giving birth in that warm buoyant state, there is no need to ask her to leave the water.

The baby has grown in a fluid environment for the past 9 months so babies adjust very well to being born in a birth pool. Waterbirth is miraculous!

What are the benefits?

Women who wish to labour and/or birth while immersed in deep warm water know it is a simple way of assisting them to cope without the use of strong drugs. A reduction in the use of pain relieving drugs not only benefits the mother (who is more alert and responsive after the birth) but the baby will also benefit considerably. One study has demonstrated how babies whose mothers had epidural anaesthesia were still showing adverse effects of the drug up to six weeks later (Rosenblatt et al, 1981).

Women also know to labour in water increases their chances of giving birth naturally and normally with a minimum of interference or medical intervention. A prospective observational study in Switzerland in 1999 found waterbirths had the lowest rate of analgesia use, the lowest episiotomy rate and lowest incidence of 3rd and 4th degree tears, as well as the lowest maternal blood loss. Babies born in the water had the lowest rate of neonatal infection, and the average Apgar score at 5 minutes was significantly higher after waterbirths. Women who gave birth in the water had the most satisfying birth experience (Eberhard & Geissbuchler, 1999).




Where can I have a water birth in WA?

In 2009 the WA Labour and Birth in Water clinical guidelines and consumer leaflet were released to support water birth as an option in public (not private) hospitals.  This is being rolled out progressively as Midwives are trained in looking after a women labouring in water. 

Currently the King Edward Memorial Hospital (Family Birth Centre and Labour Ward), Kaleeya, Kalumunda and Armadale Hospital offer waterbirths. Always ask if this is what you would like, as the hospitals that provide this will be ever changing.

Another option for a water birth is to have a home birth, which can be organized through a private midwife or through the government funded community midwifery program. (see www.cmwa.net.au)

© Diana Fischer 2017