Who Should Try It?
Some women are not good candidates for water birth, either because of complications in their medical or obstetrical history, or because of complications encountered in labor. Ask your midwife or doctor if you meet the criteria. If you have any of the following conditions, you may not be an appropriate candidate:
-- Temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher.
-- Non-reassuring fetal heart rate.
-- Unexpected or unusual vaginal bleeding.
-- Epidural analgesia or intrathecal narcotic for pain control.
-- Any condition requiring continuous electronic fetal monitoring (e.g. oxytocin induction or augmentation of labor).
-- Presence of any infection transmitted through blood or body fluids.
-- An active herpes outbreak.
-- A baby who is not presenting head down.
-- Previous cesarean birth.
-- Presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid.
-- Premature birth prior to 37 completed weeks of gestation.
-- Any condition that will require the presence of a neonatal team at delivery.
Before you choose water birth, you'll be asked to meet the following conditions:
-- You agree to allow the nursing staff to listen to the baby's heart beat as needed while you're in the tub.
-- Your temperature and blood pressure and baby's heart rate must be within the normal range.
-- You agree to follow instructions from the CNM, MD or nurse, including getting out of the tub if asked to do so.
-- Your cervix must be dilated to 5 cm or more.
-- You must have a support person with you at all times.
-- Your fetal heart rate must be normal on a fetal monitor.
-- You have tested negative for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C during the course of your pregnancy and these results are documented on your prenatal records at the time of delivery.
-- You will stand or leave the tub to deliver the placenta. Repair of any tears will be done in the bed.
-- Support people who enter the tub must wear a bathing suit.
Now that you know something about water birth, you might be tempted to consider this gentle delivery method for your baby. If you'd like to learn more, check out http://www.waterbirth.org and http://www.waterbirthinfo.com.