Water births are becoming more and more popular in Australia.
But for many women, there are still a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to choosing whether to labour and/or deliver in water.
To find out everything there is to know about water birth, we spoke to an obstetrician, a doula and a midwife to find out the benefits, the potential risks and how to prepare for a water birth.
Here’s what they had to say.
What is a water birth?
A water birth is a birth which involves the mother spending part of the labour in a tub or birthing pool filled with warm water.
Some women choose to labour in the water but not actually deliver in the water while others choose to stay in the birthing pool for both the labour and delivery.
While the majority of water births are done at home, some Australian hospitals do currently offer the use of a birthing pool.
According to a recent Australian study on midwives’ views on water immersion during labour, almost 90 per cent of the midwives surveyed stated that they believe the practice should be offered to all pregnant women.
What are the benefits of a water birth? Is water birth painful?
It’s clear why support for water birth is growing among midwives – immersion in water while labouring and delivering does carry benefits.
Much like a warm bath or a hot shower can provide comfort when you're dealing with pain, a water birth can provide similar benefits.
“For some people, they have less perception of pain [in the water],” obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Gino Pecoraro told Mamamia.
And according to research, birthing in water can potentially make it easier for the mother to cope with the pain of contractions.