Water is known to be relaxing, rejuvenating. A warm bath at the end of the day refreshes.Michel Odent in 1960s used this medium to give pain relief in labour, one of his patients was so comfortable there, that for delivery, she refused to get out of the bath tub and delivered a calm baby under water.
This accidental under water delivery made him do extensive research and he came to the conclusion that water is safe for both mother and baby. This is subsequently found out to be true by thousands of mothers all over the world.
The advantage for mother is:
Deep Water immersion causes buoyancy which makes her movements in water very easy, very comfortable, she has her own private space, reduced pain perception inhibits stress hormones release, releases positive endorphins which reduces blood pressure. redistribution of blood causes better uterine perfusion, makes contractions more efficient and leads to a shorter labour For the baby: baby is in amniotic fluid in utero, delivers in a similar liquid medium so the transition to land/air is gentler and are born calmer. Since the mother has had no pharmacological pain relief, the baby suckles better, lactation is successfully established bonding is better.Babies do not breathe under water in normal circumstances because of various factors.
The prostaglandin E2 SURGE which occurs 24 hours prior to the onset of labour, inhibits fetal breathing movement, and hence babies do not breathe under water.The dense taste buds in the larynx recognizes fluid at the back of the throat, closes the glottis, thus causing swallowing in stead of aspiration into the lungs.
Healthy babies have a relative hypoxia at birth which cause swallowing reflex, not gasping.Guidelines are adhered to in selecting the patient who can and who cannot labour under water, protocols are strictly followed in monitoring the baby and mother ,to ensure safety of both.
Thus, water is now being successfully used in Europe, Thailand, Phillipines, Mexico, North America as a pain reliever, its even nicknamed “acquadural” and in the U.K. it has become mandatory in all public hospitals to offer water as an option for labour and delivery.In India too, some hospitals and Birth Centers in Delhi, Mumbai and Goa offer water birth facilities.
We at ALFA are geared for water birth and hope to give a satisfying experience during the stressful period of labour.Please go through our FAQ section on water birth for more information. Contact Us
Our first water birth, 21/11/11 at 12.55 noon, a baby girl weighing 3.060kgs.