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  • Is Water Birth A Safer Alternative For Pregnant Women During A Pandemic?

    Every pregnancy is different, so make sure to consult your healthcare professional.
    by Rachel Perez .
Is Water Birth A Safer Alternative For Pregnant Women During A Pandemic?
PHOTO BY iStock
  • With the global pandemic affecting everybody's lives, it's only natural to want to be safe from exposure to the virus. Pregnant women especially are concerned about their health and that of their newborn, so many are considering birth alternatives. 

    But is it safer to give birth at home or have a water birth? Given that childbirth always carries risks, let's break it down to know more about the birthing options to help you make an informed decision.

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    Home births

    Having home births are not banned in the country, but some cities and municipalities prohibit it for safety reasons. 

    Some studies say home births are beneficial for newborns. However, during a home birth, the development of a life-threatening complication such as requiring a C-section puts the lives of the mother and the baby at high risk. A traditional birthing attendant or hilot is also not equipped with the skills to deal with such emergencies. (Read more about home births here.) 

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    The case may be different for home births attended to by midwives, who are equipped to deal with healthy pregnancies and births. She can bring with her basic medical supplies, and there must be an emergency transport to a nearby hospital. 

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    Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio famously had a home birth when she delivered her second son, Manu, last year. Read her experience here.

    Lying-in clinics

    If there were only two choices, to give birth at home or a lying-in center, the latter might be the safer alternative if you have a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy.

    A lying-in center already has the basic medical supplies that can help you, and the midwife in charge may be more comfortable doing what she does in a space she's familiar with compared to your house. It has a labor room, delivery room, and recovery room, just like in a hospital. (Click here for a tour of a lying-in clinic.)

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    Midwives in lying-in clinics also usually have partner ob-gyns they coordinate with regarding your condition. They also have partner hospitals that can accommodate you should you develop any birth complications that require you to be transferred there.

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    Water births

    Some lying-in centers and hospitals have water birth facilities. For vaginal birth or water birth, of course, it's going to be much cheaper to give birth in a lying-in clinic than in a hospital, even with the added cost of personal protective equipment.

    A water birth is a safe alternative for low-risk pregnancies. Immersion in water during the first stages of labor helps the mom-to-be feel more relaxed and in control of the delivery, resulting in a shorter labor period and little to no pain medications required. Still, it carries a higher risk of infection for both mom and baby. 

    Consult your doctor first. Not all pregnant women are great candidates for a water birth. (Click here for the conditions you must not have if you're aiming for a water birth.)

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    Alyanna Martinez had a water birth delivering her first baby, Adalyn. Read her experiene here. Many other moms have had great water birth expriences. Raed their stories here.   

    So, which one is safer? It's really up to you to decide based on your pregnancy and your healthcare professional's advice.

    A doctor would argue that the hospital is still the safest place to welcome your baby. Note that not all hospitals treat COVID-19 patients, and many have health and safety protocols to protect both patients and healthcare professionals. 

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