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Ayesha Al Mansouri Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The first water birth in Abu Dhabi took place at Burjeel Hospital on June 29, when Emirati couple Shamma and Mohammad Al Mansoori became the proud parents of baby girl Ayesha.

Describing her experience the joyous mother said: “I was very happy and contended during the whole labouring process, the ability to see my baby born in front of my eyes and the opportunity to be the first one to hold the baby and even cut the cord was an exciting experience.”

Al Mansoori, in her early thirties, highly recommended water birthing to all expectant mothers.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Sausan AbdulRahman, the attending obstetrician from Burjeel Hospital explained: “Water birthing is very easy on the baby who is already surrounded by amniotic fluid in the mother’s womb and smoothly transitions from the birth canal into the warm water. It is very easy on the baby as well as the mother. In this case the mother required no pain medication or epidural. She was very relaxed. Most mothers find it be a fulfilling experience as they feel more in control, and resume normal activities of life soon after.”

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Dr Sausan Abdul Rahman with baby Ayesha and the Burjeel Hospital team. Most insurance firms cover water birthing and mothers can opt for it provided they clear some basic criteria. Image Credit: Burjeel Hospital

Dr Bashier Dawlatly, Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Head of Department at Burjeel Hospital, added: “Giving birth in water helps the body release less of the stress hormones and more of the labour hormone, oxytocin, hence stimulating labour contractions to be strong and more regular.”

Most health insurances cover water births as a labour option and mothers can opt for it if the hospital offers it provided they clear some basic criteria.

What you need to know about water birth

  • Mothers should be between the ages of 17-35 with a normal full-term pregnancy and no history of gynaecological complications (which could result in distress to the baby).
  • The water birthing must be done in the presence of mid-wives and trained obstetricians who can make sure that the baby does not breathe while submerged in water as it could cause the born to inhale some secretions and cause foetal distress.
  • Hygiene is very important as there have been cases of newborns inhaling dangerous waterborne bacterium.
  • Babies in breech position or mothers with any known history of labour complications must not opt for this kind of birth as doctors cannot continuously monitor the foetus while water birthing.

What is water birthing?

Water birthing is a process in which a woman opts to undergo child delivery labour in a tub of warm water, which is said to reduce the stress of childbirth. Most women deliver in water while some get out for the delivery. This is a common holistic delivery alternative that mothers opt for in the UK and other parts of Europe and, in the recent past, in the US as well. It is relatively uncommon in the UAE with the exception of one hospital in Al Ain providing this facility since 2011.