There is no prefect answer to this because each labor is unique and every woman tolerates pain differently. Compared to a land birth, water birth is looking like a more relaxing for the mother and baby but not necessarily less painful.
If you’re looking for a pain-free delivery, water birth can’t promise that, but if you’re looking for a way to manage a natural childbirth (sans medication, epidural, and C-section), water birth might be for you.
Water often acts as a relaxer and can have the same effect during labor as taking a soothing bath after a stressful day. By increasing relaxation, the water also helps lessen the chances of tense breathing, because taking short, shallow breaths can intensify contractions, increasing the pain.
The less stress placed on the body during labor the better – as you relax, the body releases the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates labor contractions to make them strong and regular, and releases more endorphins to help you cope with contractions.
Water makes the body buoyant and feel lighter so it’s also easier for you to move about and find a comfortable position in the water; this makes labor easier.
Being in the water does not take pain entirely out of the equation, but it can be more managed or subdued. Depending on the woman, the water may alleviate a majority of the pain or it may not.
So, for some women its painless but for some it equally painful as land delivery.
There may be some risks for both mother and baby
As per the article written by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there might be a theoretical risk of water delivery, which occurs when water enters the mother’s bloodstream.
If the baby is experiencing stress in the birth canal or if the umbilical cord becomes kinked or twisted, the baby might gasp for air with the possibility of inhaling water.
The final potential risk is that the umbilical cord could snap as the baby is brought to the surface of the water.
What situations are not good for water birth?
- If you have Herpes.
- If your baby is breech.
- If you have been diagnosed with one of the following: excessive bleeding or maternal infection.
- If you are having multiples.
- If preterm labor is expected.
- If there is severe meconium.
- If you have toxemia or preeclampsia.