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Obstetrics & Gynecology

Waterbirth

We are pleased to tell you that Al Zahra Hospital Dubai can now offer you the opportunity to use a birthing pool for your labour and birth.

We have one pool in our active birth room which is suitable for labour and birth in the water and three inflatable pools in our other rooms which are suitable for labour only.alzahra hospital dubai waterbirth dubai uae

The birth pool may not always be available for you if it is already being used or if trained staff are not available at that time. We would like to help as many women as possible to have a straight forward birth.

We know that the more relaxed, secure and in control you feel and the more able you are to move about freely, the more likely it is that you will have a quicker and more straightforward birth.

For some women birthing pools offer all these benefits. Please talk to our midwifery manager and your own obstetrician if you are interested in using water for your labour and/or birth.

They will give you more information and answer any further questions you may have.

We have compiled this information leaflet to give you and your partner some information about labour and birth in water

LABOURING IN WATER

There are many benefits to labouring and giving birth in water. These include:

  • Less painful contractions
  • The relaxing effect of warm water helps produce endorphins – promoting the body`s natural pain relief mechanism
  • Less need for analgesia (pain relief) such as pethidine or epidurals .Less need for drugs that accelerate labour such as oxytocin
  • Shorter labour
  • Feelings of being in control
  • A birthing pool supports 75% of a labouring woman`s weight, allowing the woman to feel buoyant and comfortable. Mobility is easier, thus conserving a woman›s energy for labour
  • You are more likely to achieve a natural birth
  • A more enjoyable labour experience
  • Water helps to relax the pelvic floor muscles and soften the perineum (the skin between the vagina and the anus), thus reducing the risk of tearing
  • A more gentle birth for the baby
  • Breastfeeding can be encouraged immediately (RCOG/RCM 2006).

BIRTH IN WATER

Research suggests that for healthy women with straightforward pregnancies and in full term labour (after 37 weeks gestation) using the water for labour and birth is as safe as for land birth. Healthy babies who cope well with labour can be
born in the pool as they will not breathe until they are brought to the surface into air. If your midwife or doctor has concerns that your baby is distressed or compromised during labour she will advise you not to birth in the pool.

RISKS OF LABOURING IN WATER

For healthy women with an uncomplicated term pregnancy, complications are seemingly rare. A concern for some people is that the baby will breathe whilst still under the water – this is highly unlikely as there are many mechanisms that prevent this from happening, one of which is the drop in temperature that normally occurs when a baby is born. The water temperature is carefully monitored throughout labour to prevent this drop. Ensuring the baby’s head is totally submerged during delivery also prevents the breathing reflex from starting until the head is clear of the water.

IS A WATERBIRTH SUITABLE FOR ME?

Generally, if you are healthy and between 37 and 42 weeks pregnant, have experienced a normal pregnancy with no serious medical conditions or complications and any previous labours have been completely normal you are suitable to use water for labour and/or birth. Labour should also start spontaneously. Your Midwife and obstetrician will advise you.
At AL Zahra hospital Dubai it is important that you have the full support of the
obstetrician that has been caring for you and that they are happy to be present on the labour ward for your birth

SAFETY THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WATER TEMPERATURE

We will regulate the water temperature so you are comfortable. This should be between 35°C-37°C in first stage of labour alzahra hospital dubai waterbirth dubai uaeand at 37°C for the birth of your baby. The midwife will check your temperature, the water and the room temperature every hour in labour and water temperature every 30 minutes before the birth of your baby. We encourage you to drink extra water to prevent dehydration.

WHEN SHOULD I GO INTO THE WATER?

There is not enough evidence about when is the best time to enter the pool. We believe that the best time is when your labour is established.

PAIN RELIEF

If you require gas and air (Entonox) this can be used in the pool. However, if you need a pain relieving injection or an epidural you will need to leave the pool. If you have previously had a pain relieving injection four hours should lapse before getting into the pool.

THE BIRTH

As the birth approaches, you will know whether you wish to birth in the pool; some women prefer to birth their baby out of the water. Your baby will be allowed to birth with no-one touching and you will be supported with verbal guidance from your midwife or doctor. You your midwife or your doctor will raise your baby gently to the surface, head first. Your baby will then start to breathe. Once the baby has been born the baby’s head must not go back into the water. Babies born in water tend to have their eyes open and be very calm. Sometimes the baby may take a short time to become pink. This is because the birth has been very gentle and is normal.


THE THIRD STAGE (PLACENTA)

More research is needed about the risks and benefits of having the third stage of labour under water (RCOG/RCM). We will ask you to leave the pool to deliver your placenta. Please ask your midwife or doctor for more information.

REASONS FOR LEAVING THE POOL

  • To use the toilet
  • If there is difficulty in hearing your baby’s heart rate or any irregularities in the baby’s heart rate
  • You may be requested to leave the pool for a vaginal examination (although they can take place in water)
  • If your blood pressure, pulse or temperature become abnormal
  • If your labour does not progress as expected
  • In order to deliver the placenta.

You can choose to leave the pool at any time during labour, except when the head is about to deliver.

HOW WILL I BE CARED FOR DURING LABOUR AND BIRTH IN WATER?

To maintain the benefits of labouring in water we will try to create a calm, unhurried and relaxed atmosphere.We will alzahra hospital dubai waterbirth dubai uaeencourage you verbally when necessary and disturb you as little as possible at other times. We will need to listen to your baby’s heart rate and regularly check your temperature, pulse and blood pressure. You will be supported in labour by a midwife and your birth partner and your doctor. Your obstetrician must be present at the birth of your baby. At Al Zahra we will do a short admission trace of the baby’s heart rate before entering the pool.

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

It is important that you feel relaxed and in control during labour so the choice of what you wear is entirely up to you. Some women like to be naked when they give birth and find clothing gets in the way, being naked also allows skin-to-skin contact to take place straight away. Others feel more comfortable if they are wearing a T-shirt or bikini top which covers their body. You may want to bring a dressing gown or large towel from home because you can become cold very quickly if you need to leave the pool for any reason.
For more information on water births:
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists/Royal College of Midwives (2006). Joint statement on immersion in water during labour and birth.
Immersion in labour for water and birth (2012) Royal College of Midwives (2012) Royal College of Midwives evidence based guidelines. RCM.UK

Obstetrics & Gynecology doctors