Just in case you’ve missed it, TV host and movie actress Coleen Garcia gave birth to her first child with husband Billy Crawford in the comfort of their home on Sept. 10, at 6:33 AM.
Due to the threat of COVID-19 in the country, Coleen and Billy decided to deliver their healthy baby boy Amari through unmedicated water birth.
In an Instagram post, the actress shared photos of her newborn child. “There’s so much I wanna say, but for now, I just want to praise God for being so good. Thank you, Lord, for our beautiful Amari,” she said. (Read: Do Catholics Really Worship Mama Mary?)
Coleen also shared in an Instagram story that she didn’t use any pain killers while in labor. “For a while, towards the end, I was really regretting the decision to skip the pain killers. But I’m happy I did it this way. No tearing because of the water!” she wrote.
In recent years, water birth has become a bigger trend among celebrities. Kylie Padilla-Abrenica and Max Collins are among the celebrity moms who shared and documented their experiences with water birthing in the past. This only makes us wonder: what is water birth, and is it safe for a mother and her baby? (Read: 3 Celebrity Moms Who Welcomed Their Baby During Quarantine)
What is water birth?
Before we talk about its benefits and risks, it’s important to understand what it is. According to an article published by Americanpregnancy.org, water birth is a process in which a pregnant woman spends her labor or delivery in a birthing tub filled with warm water. In theory, with water birth, delivering a baby is gentler and less stressful for the mother and the baby, especially since the baby has already been in the amniotic fluid sac for nine months.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which sets guidelines for pregnancy and childbirth care in the U.S., recommends laboring in water but also recognizes the possible circumstances of giving birth in water. The group strongly cautions against water immersion during baby’s delivery, since it can lead to potentially serious and even fatal conditions for the baby.
What are the benefits of water birth?
According to WaterBirth International, an organization that conducts research on water birth since 1988, there are several health benefits of giving birth through water. It is believed that water birth provides significant pain relief for mothers and reduces blood pressure while delivering a baby. More benefits are listed below:
- Water facilitates mobility and enables the mother to assume any position that is comfortable for labor and birth
- Speeds up labor
- Reduces blood pressure
- Gives mother feelings of control
- Promotes relaxation
- Conserves mother’s energy
- Reduces the need for drugs and interventions
- Gives mother a private protected space
- Reduces perineal trauma and eliminates episiotomies
- Reduces cesarean section rates
- Highly rated by mothers – typically stating they would consider giving birth in water again; some even stating they would never give birth any other way!
- Highly rated by experienced providers
- Encourages an easier birth for mother and a gentler welcome for baby
What are its risks to the mother and baby?
According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in theory, water birth mothers may suffer from water embolism, which occurs when water enters the mother’s bloodstream. Healthline.com also says that water birthing may not be recommended if you have any of the following complications or symptoms:
- maternal blood or skin infection
- fever of 100.4 °F (38°C) or higher
- excessive vaginal bleeding
- difficulty tracing fetal heartbeat, or need for continuous tracing
- history of shoulder dystocia
- carrying multiples
If you are a mother who is currently considering water birthing, it is still best to seek advice from medical professionals first. This will help you gauge your body’s capacity to give normal birth and assess the possible cons of giving water birth.
For more information, you can visit the Department of Health website.