Hydrotherapy is an alternative treatment approach that has been used for many years because of its muscle relaxant and relaxing effects. The idea that this effect can be used in normal births is also quite old. The first documented underwater birth took place in France in 1803. However, this is not a planned birth. A woman who had been in labor for a long time and entered a bathtub filled with hot water for some relaxation was born during this period and as a result of this coincidence, she became the first woman to give birth in water.
Until the 1960s, there was no development in water birth, but for the first time in the former Soviet Union, Igor Charkovshy began experimenting. She lived in France between 1978-1985. Michel Odent watched and helped many births underwater.
Although the practices of birth in water later became an update, it has never gained popularity outside of certain regions. It is currently practiced in a limited number of clinics in the former Soviet republics, England and some parts of France and the United States.
When the procedure does not become widespread, scientific research and articles on the subject are extremely limited and most of them appear in journals related to midwifery. Water birth clinics are generally centers where midwives work.
People who have given birth and advocate this application claim that warm water has calming and pain relieving effects and this effect helps the woman to feel comfortable and make birth easier. Apart from these opinions, there is no scientific research showing that birth in water is superior to birth other than water.
In a systematic study comparing normal and water births on the subject, it has been shown that both modes of delivery have no advantages or disadvantages in terms of benefit or adverse effects.
Between 1994 and 1996, only 0.6% of births in the UK occurred in the water, and 9% of these births occurred at home. The infant mortality rate in these deliveries is 1.2 per thousand and it is not much different from normal non-water birth.
The hypothesis of advocates of water birth is that warm water will relax the muscles and provide mental comfort, thereby increasing blood flow to the placenta, resulting in less painful and shorter delivery. However, the temperature of the water is important here. The ideal temperature for water is 37 degrees. If the water is warmer, there may be a change in the blood circulation of the expectant mother and sudden blood pressure decrease and decrease in the blood flow to the placenta may cause unnecessary risk to both the mother and the baby. In addition, in case of prolonged immersion in water, the mother may lose fluid due to sweating.
Another risk of birth in water is the increased likelihood of infection. Blood and feces mixed with water during labor create risks for both mother and baby.
Another unpredictable risk encountered during birth in water is cord rupture. Especially if the baby's umbilical cord is short, the baby's cord may suddenly break out and the baby may lose blood. In one study, it was found that 14% of the babies were taken to intensive care because of cord rupture and even a baby should be given blood.
Failure to keep the pond too deep, or pulling up until the baby is fully born, can reduce this risk.
In terms of respiration, birth does not increase the risk of drowning or swallowing.
As can be seen, water birth does not provide any mastery to normal birth. Moreover, many living creatures prefer to come ashore to reproduce in the course of evolution, and no living creatures go to water for this purpose. Delivering in water is a totally fantastic and marginal approach.
In our country, there are almost no physicians with experience in water birth.
I find this method, which has not found widespread application in the world, gain popularity in our country as a distant possibility. In addition, many gynecologists will not adopt this type of birth due to the lack of legal procedures in the face of the negativities that may be seen due to the absence of any regulation in the health legislation.
Kiss. Dr. Contact Alper directly
Gynecology and Obstetrics Specialist
1-) Nicodem VC. Immersion in water during pregnancy, labor and birth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 1999 (3).
2-) Gilbert RE, Tookey PA. Perinatal mortality and morbidity among babies delivered in water: national surveillance study. BMJ 1999; 319: 483-7.