The popularity of unassisted, physiological birth has been rapidly growing in recent years - and water birth itself has been a birthing practice since ancient times - but it wasn't possible to have a water birth in a hospital in Dubai until July 2015, when Al Zahra Hospital opened the emirate's first water birthing facility in its Al Barsha-based location.
But with the increased awareness of water births has come increased competition; with just the one room at Al Zahra dedicated to hypnobirthing and water birthing, there has been a high demand and not always the availability to meet it.
So it's great news that another water birthing option has now opened up at one of Dubai's popular hospitals for birth, Mediclinic City Hospital in Healthcare City.
We spoke to Dr Britt Clausson, OB/GYN Consultant at Mediclinic City Hospital, about the facility and what we can expect.
When did the unit open?
The unit opened on 1 November 2017 and is located on the Labour Ward at Mediclinic City Hospital along other six dedicated labour rooms and an operation theatre.
What is the facility like?
The room is multipurpose and can be used for both pain relief and delivery with no intervention and drugs. The pool has a decent size and depth and the pregnant women can move freely while immersed in the water; this environment is excellent for the mother who prefers to go for a natural birth with no intervention. The pool temperature is monitored closely and on a regular basis to make sure that the woman is comfortable and, if delivery occurs, the water temperature is suitable for the newborn.
Who can use the water birthing facility?
Patients who want to use the water birth facility must fulfil the criteria required for the water birthing at the hospital and a non-invasive procedure consent must be obtained before using the water birthing pool; in other words, only the low risk patients can have a water birth.
How many birth partners are allowed in the water birth room?
The client can be accompanied by her partner and other relatives if she feels comfortable.
How can a pregnant woman book a water birth at City?
Obstetricians and midwives are trained to manage and conduct the delivery in the water, and the woman who wishes to have a water birth must first discuss with her doctor, obtain the formalities for water birth, and then inform the maternity unit about this choice for her labour/delivery. This information must be given to the maternity unit while on the way to the hospital; the room must be prepared in advance.
Does it cost extra to have a water birth?
There is no extra charge for water birthing.
How popular has it been so far?
Mediclinic City Hospital has already delivered few patients within the first few weeks of the launch. Many mothers are keen to know more about this type of delivery and they are more than welcome to visit. We organise maternity tours every Friday, and anyone interested can join and ask to see the water birthing suite.
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