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The journey of a woman’s life from the Womb to the Tomb must be enjoyable, healthy, well informed and of the finest quality. We strive to be a part of that beautiful journey in every way we can.

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“ A woman who has once given Birth Underwater will never do so in any other way ever again ”

Lakshmi Bertram Mother of 5 children … All born Underwater.

The birth of a child is the most satisfying moment of a couple’s life and yet the pain of labour remains unforgettable. So lets understand what makes someone like Lakshmi Bertram undergo five labours and yet make a statement like this. On the Tenth of October 2003, Mrs. Shantae Neelesh Prabhudesai, a first time mother delivered a healthy male child weighing 2.5 kgs. at Tulip Women’s Healthcare Centre.What was unique about her delivery was that it was done underwater – Mumbai’s first Hydrobaby was born. Hydrolabour is defined as the use of water during the active phase of first stage of labour Hydrobirth entails the actual delivery of the baby that is the second and third stage of labour in the pool of warm water. The equipment used is a disposable inflatable tub about 5 and ½ feet in diameter and two feet tall. The water is maintained at a constant 37* Celsius i.e body temperature … warm to hot. Monitoring of labour for both patient & baby is just as we do in routine labours. Our patients are admitted early in labour and essentially the entire process of labour remains the same…due consent is taken for the use of water in labour and delivery. The patient enters the pool of water in the active phase and labours and delivers there. The baby is born active..moving ..watching calmly..as the mother holds it and brings it out of water after a few seconds of adaptation. The cord is now cut and respiration is established. Placenta delivery may take place in the pool or after shifting the patient out. Episiotomy can be given underwater with local anaesthesia. The average duration of second stage is shorter and the incidence of instrumentation is lower in patients undergoing Hydrobirth. None of our patients has had any significant 3rd stage complications. There is absolutely no difference in the neonatal condition at birth or the incidence of neonates requiring resuscitation or other assistance.

The Myths & Facts

Myths surrounding hydrobirth have been long put to rest many years back in worldwide scientific papers –

  • Infection remains a theoretical risk –never reported in serious incidence.
  • Drowning does not occur as the stimuli for respiration are not present underwater. The cord is cut only after removal from water so there is no need for the baby to try and breathe.
  • The baby is not overhandled.
  • There is no atmospheric exposure.

The incidence of labour complications and neonatal problems is absolutely the same in hydrobirth as in normal labours.

Why water you would wonder??

  • 60% of our body is water!!!
  • Water is the essence of life – natural & pure.
  • Water is a muscle relaxant it rejuvenates and refreshes.
  • Water increases blood supply to the uterus – takes away toxic local hormones.
  • Water makes labour more efficient … more progress with lesser number of contractions.
  • Gives buoyancy and makes you weightless.
  • Results in shorter and less painful labours –without increasing the risk to mother and baby in any way.

In water stress hormones are reduced and pain relieving chemicals or endorphins are released in excess . Also the shock of sudden lights sound and other sensory stimuli to the baby is reduced if the baby goes from water to water to air rather than from water to air directly and these babies are reported to be more balanced and stable individuals who have better adaptive capabilities as adults later on in life. The subjective reporting of pain relief has us completely stunned and very enthused about what we have seen. Almost all the claimed benefits…like shortening of the first stage ..smoother labours…variable pain relief from 40—90% …. Less operative interference … and tremendous patient satisfaction have been proved right in our experience. We did not use any drugs or medication to hasten or accelerate these labours which is an important concept of natural birthing.

Why Water ?- The Benefits Of its Use:

(Proven by the proponents over 4 decades worldwide)

  1. Water is a muscle relaxant – it aids the passage of the baby through the birth canal.
  2. Relives pain.
  3. Refreshes & rejuvenates the mother – making her more co-operative
  4. Shortens the duration of labour & reduces incidence of artificial instrumentation at delivery (Forceps/Vacuum)
  5. Causes weightlessness- overcomes gravity- allows the mother relief and comfort.
  6. Gives the baby a smoother medium of transition from the womb to the out side world…..And many, many

Worldwide Experience

There are thousands of published articles worldwide about water in labour and delivery .. they essentially report the same benefits that I have talked about .. patient satisfaction and over all safety being the most important highlighted features.

References & Suggested Reading

There are many references we can learn from…. The art of waterbirthing is at least 125 years old…and is practiced extensively in the UK, RUSSIA, FRANCE, THE US, AND MANY MORE COUNTRIES …. AND NOW of course in Bombay—India. Cochrane Review : Of more than 40,000 Waterbirths worldwide. No directly attributable fatality and No specific risk above Normal deliveries. British Medical Journal 1999 : Dr. Gilbert et al. 4032 Waterbirths – Perinatal Mortality 1.2 / 1000 live births. Lower than normal Deliveries. Choosing Waterbirth : Lakshmi Bertram Gentle Birth Choices : Barbara Harper Waterbirth Unplugged : Beverly A Lawrence Beech Waterbirth Handbook : Eileen Herzberg www.waterbirth.org www.waterbirth.com www.yourwaterbirth.com


So is natural birth and Hydrobirth a step back from today or a step forward ? Will all Obstetricians accept hard facts that some of us have been propogating for many years and begin to offer atleast some of their patients a more pleasureable birthing experience. We are all worried about rising C Section rates and the reasons for it, but are we doing enough about it? With over 1 million waterbirths worldwide this technique is knocking hard at our door!! Let more women use water for their labours & deliveries worldwide and spread the word of how wonderful and satisfying an experience childbirth can be. Cheers to that thought ! R V Punjabi.