Delivering babies underwater

Vinita G. Singh
Bangalore Times, 8 April 2003

Dr Gowri Motha swears by the goodness of water. Whether it’s for her daily swim, research on dolphins as midwives or for the waterbirthing method she specialises in. The Bangalore educated and London-based obstetrician and gynaecologist has pioneered the acclaimed Jeyarani method, coined the term, ‘birth-fit’, assisted in the births of supermodels, rock stars and even royalty and has prepared and attended over 500 waterbirths till date.

“Waterbirths are a culmination of the Gentle Birth Method, which involves preparing pregnant women physically and mentally for a natural, healthy, enjoyable and non-surgical childbirth. The Jeyarani method is a hands-on holistic mind-body relaxation programme which involves use of self-hypnosis, the Bowen method, cranial-sacro therapy, reiki, reflexology, creative healing, visualisation and other methods to make a mother birth-fit. Waterbirth is the icing on the cake, ‘the cake’ being preparing the mother for birth,” says Dr Motha.

According to her, waterbirths can be done anywhere, even in a home, but it has to be done under the supervision of a trained doctor, in a birth pool that should ideally be 5 ft long and 4 ft wide. The temperature of the water should be between 34-36 degrees celsius.

“The advantages of waterbirthing are numerous for both mother and the baby, as compared to dry births. Water is an analgesic muscle relaxant and hypnotic agent. It helps the mother go into a natural state of labour and thereby makes the birth process less traumatic, more manageable and enjoyable too. Coming form the amniotic sac into the environment of warm water, the post-birth trauma is almost nil for the baby too,” adds Dr Motha.

Has the waterbirth method been tried in India? “I did one waterbirth for a friend of my sister-in-law in India so far and have done waterbirths for several Asian mothers too, all over the world. I am all ready to interact with doctors in India to popularise this method. Anyone can do a waterbirth, doing it elegantly is my speciality,” she says.

Bangalore Times, 8 April 1990

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