Although water birth is a concept that is well-known abroad, few Egyptians actually know what it means, let alone experienced it. There are, however, a few clinics in Egypt that do water births. eniGma’s Shereen Kamal brings you all you need to know about this and why some women might prefer this over a natural birth or a c-section.
A water birth means at least part of your labour, delivery, or both happen while you’re in a birth pool filled with warm water. It can take place in a hospital, a birthing center, or at home. Some women choose to go through labour in the water and get out for delivery. Other women decide to stay in the water for the delivery as well. The theory behind water birth is that since the baby has already been in the amniotic fluid sac for nine months, birthing in a similar environment is gentler for the baby and less stressful for the mother. Water birth also speeds up labour, provides significant pain relief, promotes relaxation and gives the mother privacy and freedom of movement. The water environment also helps create harmony and peace, while enhancing the normality of birth.
However, water birth is not very popular in Egypt. Not a lot of people know or understand what it actually means, and what kind of advantages this specific method has to offer.
Dr. Hanaa Kassem is a well-known advocate for water birth in Egypt, and the founder of the “Birthing Clinic for Natural and Water Birth in Egypt”, a clinic that has been up and running for five years now. We spoke to her assistant, Krystal Harris, who is also a child birth educator and a labour and birth doula (a person who gives support, help and advice to women during pregnancy and during and after the birth). She informed us of Dr. Hanaa’s success in delivering over a dozen babies in water.
Although water births can be quite expensive, Dr. Hanaa’s clients are not limited to a certain social class. Krystal informed us that Dr. Hanaa takes into account her patient’s circumstances. Krystal also told eniGma that in the five years that they’ve been open, there has definitely been an increase in the number of women who go to them for water births.
However, water births are not completely risk free. There is always the rare chance that the baby might accidently inhale water if the umbilical cord gets twisted. There are also cases where it is not ideal to have a water birth, like if the mother is prone to excessive bleeding or if she has an infection. That is why it is always best you have a good gynocologist with you throughout your pregnancy and delivery.