Abu Dhabi records first water birth

Water birth is known to have less painful contractions, a shorter labour time, and reduces the need for pain relieving drugs.

July 18, 2019 Inga Louisa Stevens

In June, Abu Dhabi recorded its first water birth at Burjeel Hospital, a private healthcare facility in the UAE’s capital. Water birth means that at least part of the labour, delivery or both, happens while the mother is in a pool of warm water. It is known to have less painful contractions, a shorter labour time, and reduces the need for pain relieving drugs.

Benefits

“Warm water helps you to relax and to feel more in control. Floating helps move around more easily, the effect of buoyancy lessens a mother’s body weight allowing free movement,” explains the attending Obstetrician, Dr. Sausan AbdulRahman, who is a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at Burjeel Hospital. “It also lowers the chances of having severe vaginal tears, and it improves the blood supply and blood flow to the uterus. Immersion in the water often helps lower the high blood pressure caused by anxiety of labour and helps the mother to relax improving the physical and mental status allowing the mother to focus on the birth process.”

Research

A team of Cochrane authors based in the United Kingdom worked with Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth to update the 2011 Cochrane Review assessing the effects of water immersion during labour and/or birth (first, second and third stage of labour) on women and their infants. This review includes 15 trials conducted between 1990 and 2015 with a total of 3663 women.

It found that labouring in water may reduce the number of women having an epidural. Giving birth in water did not appear to affect mode of birth, or the number of women having a serious perineal tear. The review found no evidence that labouring in water increases the risk of an adverse outcome for women or their newborns.

Alternative choice

“Water reduces stress and, by reducing stress, it also reduces stress related hormones allowing mothers body to produce endorphins which help serve as pain inhibitors,” Dr AbdulRahman adds.

With the many benefits associated with water births, more expectant mothers in the UAE now have a choice to use an alternative way to give birth.  

Giving birth in water did not appear to affect mode of birth, or the number of women having a serious perineal tear.