Common Questions About Water Birth


Any problems associated with the actual birth can also be assessed and handled quickly when a woman is in the water. Some problems are actually resolved more easily because of the water. Midwives report that a cord around the baby's neck is often easier to remove in the water because the reduced gravity results in no compression on the cord. When the baby's head emerges under the water and a cord is felt, it is simply lifted over the baby's head or a hand is slipped under the cord so that it can be passed down over the body when the baby comes out.

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Next Page: Do you deliver the placenta in the water?


Do you deliver the placenta in the water?
Childbirth practitioners are divided on this issue. Some allow the woman to stay in the tub for the expulsion of the placenta, and some ask the woman to stand up or leave the tub. Although opinion and practice are divided, physicians and midwives who allow women to deliver the placenta in the water report that it is safe and without side effects.

Some women who have "planned" to have a water birth and then give birth outside the tub will get back into the water to expel the placenta. Other women who have had a water birth and get out to expel the placenta often get back into a clean bath to relax and play with the baby. Once again, this seems to be a matter of choice and judgment. There are no set guidelines to follow.

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If I'm in labor, when can I get into the water?
The decision to enter the birthing tub is generally up to the mother. Some midwives recommend that women try laboring in the water whenever they feel like it. However, if it is early in labor and the water relaxes a woman too much, the labor often slows down. If this is the case, the laboring woman should leave the water until her labor becomes established. Staying active during labor is the most beneficial thing a woman can do. Some women alternate walking, taking showers and bathing during labor.

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