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Alternative Birthing Methods

By EmpowHER
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Water Birth

Water birth is an alternative birthing method first introduced to the United States in the early 1990s. Under the supervision of an obstetrician or midwife and in a specially designed birthing tub, a woman can choose to labor in a warm tub of water and get out for delivery or remain in the tub for both labor and delivery. This birthing option is based on the fact that the baby has been submerged in fluid within the amniotic sac for nine months. Water birth provides a soothing and relaxing experience for the mother, which promotes more efficient uterine contractions, stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers, and relaxes the perineum thus reducing the incidence and severity of tearing during delivery. Potential risks include water embolism, water aspiration and snapping of the umbilical cord during delivery. Some contraindications include breech presentation, maternal diagnosis of herpes, toxemia or preeclampsia, multiple births and anticipated preterm labor of two weeks or more.

Photo: Getty Images

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