Pregnant Kalki Koechlin planning water birth; know the meaning and process of water births

Gynaecologist in Hadapsar

One of the finest new age actors of Bollywood Kalki Koechlin recently announced that she, with boyfriend Guy Hershberg, is expecting her first child in approximately four months. She is set to become mother in December 2019. Since announcing her pregnancy, Kalki is talking about her plans about childbirth and parenting. Apart for many progressive and different things she said regarding childbirth and parenting, the thing that caught the attention of everyone was water birth. Everyone wants to know what is water birth.

What is Water Birth?

Kalki said that she is planning a natural water birth for her first child. In water birth, the expectant mother labours and delivers baby in a pool filled with lukewarm water. The period of labour may vary but she spends at least a part of the labour in lukewarm water’s pool. In some cases delivery takes place in it as well. Many such birth pools are created in some hospital or at a birthing centres.

According to experts, some mothers go for water birth because it is believed that water birth soothes the labouring mother and reduces her labour pain. It softens tissues and helps in easy descent of the foetus via birthing canal.

Dr Rajeshwari Pawar, Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Motherhood Hospitals, Kharadi, Pune has recently written in Indian Express about Water Birth. Here are some of the advantages of water birth according to Dr Pawar’s article in IE. .

Advantages of water birth

1. Pain relief is considered as the main advantage of water birth. When muscles start contracting during the onset of labour pain, the warmth of lukewarm water eases and calms the labouring mother. It thereby reduces the need for analgesics and pain relievers. Water birth improves circulation and relaxes back and perineal muscles. As the labouring mother feels relaxed, process of delivery becomes easier for her.

2. During the delivery process on a standard hospital bed, the mother’s movement are restricted. She can only move right or left and stay mostly in a semi-reclining position. But some women want to walk during labour. In water birth, the mother gets more freedom of movement during the early stages of labour pain.

3. It is observed that chances of perineal tear are far less in women who opt for water birth. The reason is that in water birth, tissues become softer.

How safe if water birth?

Some women only prefer to have first stage of labour in water while others want to go through the second stage in water as well. The baby, in foetus form, is in a pool of water called amniotic fluid for nine months and it sounds natural that the baby will take birth in water but this can be dangerous. The baby starts breathing in the utero itself and water birth may cause a complicated condition known as meconium aspiration. It can get complicated further and cause a life-threatening condition called Meconium Aspiration Syndrome generally known as Pneumonia. According to Dr. Pawar, the second stage of labour in which the full dilatation of cervix takes place and the baby is delivered, should not take place in water.

Also, during water birth, it is not possible to constantly monitor baby’s vital parameters like heartbeat and contraction recordings. It will be extremely inconvenient for the mother to intermittently come out of birthing pool and on to the bed for the monitoring of her unborn baby to take place.

Pregnant women, who carry twins or those who have undergone “Lower Segment Caesarean Section” previously or have high blood pressure or carry any other complication are also advised against going for water birth. Only pregnant women with no medical risks should go for only the first stage of labour in water and under strict medical guidance. The general and normal delivery of the baby “on land” is far safer than in a “pool of water”.