Water baby. Mediclinic City Hospital's first water baby with his mum Victoria Long, midwife Titilia and Dr Britt Clausson at the new water birthing suite in the labour ward of the hospital in Dubai Health Care City Image Credit: © XPRESS/ ATIQ UR REHMAN

Dubai: There is a sudden surge in the demand for water births in Dubai as they are relatively painless compared to regular deliveries, according to a private hospital in the city.

Dr Britt Clausson, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Mediclinic City Hospital, told XPRESS the huge demand in enquiries prompted the hospital to set up a dedicated water birthing suite. “We delivered three babies in the first 10 days of the suite’s launch,” she said, and the bookings increase every day.

Dr Clausson, who has done hundreds of water births in the UK, said, “They are an excellent way of delivering babies for the right women as they are gentle and provide relief from pain. They are a great alternative to the heavier, pharmacological treatments involving epidural and other interventions.”

However, she said not all women can go in for a water birth. “Water births are possible only with low risk pregnancies. We do a complete assessment to find out if a mother is eligible for such deliveries. The mother has to be healthy with normal blood pressure and other vital signs. Big babies are also not suitable for such deliveries.”

Water to water

Dr Clausson said water births are natural as the baby goes from water (in the mother’s womb) to water outside, rather than water to air. There is no fear of drowning because the baby’s breathing reflex is not activated until the nose and mouth come into contact with air. Typically, the mum gets into a sterilised tub filled with warm water when she is in active labour. The water temperature is maintained at 37.5 degrees at the source. A doctor and a couple of midwives are at hand to monitor the process but they do not intervene unless it is essential.

“It’s a hands-off delivery as the mother’s body guides itself thanks to the laws of nature and the baby just falls out,” said Titilia, a registered and licensed midwife for water births.

Victoria Long, the first woman to deliver a child through water birth at the hospital, said, “I had two normal deliveries earlier. But I was keen on a water birth for my third child as I had heard about it from my friends back in the UK. It makes a huge difference when it comes to pain relief. The whole experience is more soothing and peaceful and one feels lighter in the water. The muscles during contractions are more relaxed. I even recovered faster this time compared to my earlier two deliveries.”

The first hospital to introduce water births in Dubai was Al Zahra Hospital in Al Barsha.