The use of water in labor and birth (or water birth) is a safe option available to most of our clients.
Water birth is the process of giving birth in a warm water. At the Corpus Christi Birth Center we have professional birth tubs which are designed specifically for labor and birth. Some of our clients choose to labor in the water but choose to get out for delivery. Others choose to stay in the water for the delivery as well.
The theory behind water birth is that since the baby has already been in the amniotic fluid sac for nine months, birthing in a similar environment is gentler for the baby and less stressful for the mother. We have found this to be true for many of our clients who have given birth in water. But each birth and each woman is individual. So the best thing is to have all options available and remain flexible. The beauty of planning a waterbirth at the birth center is that you don’t have to do any special set up or planning. It’s available and ready any time you decide to use it and we take care of all the set up and clean up, too.
Water birth should always occur under the supervision of a qualified health care provider. At CCBC we are experts in water birth.
CCBC Water Birth Tubs
We take extra steps to insure the safety of our clients who do want to birth in water.
- We follow the Texas Guidelines for Water Birth Safety at the birth center.
- All birth attendants are fully trained in safe water birth protocols and emergency procedures.
- We use only professional birth tubs. We have one professional portable birth tub and use a new disposable liner for each birth. We have one built in professional birth tub which has an antibacterial surface and is fully sanitized after each use.
- All water coming into the birth center first goes through a filter system to remove sediment.
- Our 55 gallon hot water heater maintains a temperature of 150 degrees in order to kill off bacteria including Legionella which can be deadly especially to a newborn. (The water is then cooled by a mixing valve before exiting the faucet to prevent scolding.) Most hot water heaters cannot be set higher than 120 degrees which will not kill bacteria. In fact, at a lower setting, a hot water heater can become a breeding ground for bacteria, including Legionella.
Water birth Benefits include:
- Increased Relaxation
- Mobility of the mother
- Pain Relief
Potential Risks of Water birth include:
- Aspiration of water by mom or baby
- Bacteria or illness
- Cord avulsion
- Thermoregulation of mom and baby
Even when a client is unable to give birth in water she can usually still labor safely in the water prior to the transition phase. So standing or sitting in the shower or tub for short periods of time can be an alternative to water birth if water birth is contraindicated.
Water birth Training and Experience of CCBC Staff:
- Beth Overton, CPM has over 18 years of experience with water birth. She has attended numerous water birth training seminars, including seminars with the current worldwide leading expert on water birth, Barbara Harper. About 25-30% of Beth’s clients choose to either labor in water and/or give birth in the water. There have been no incidences of water birth related complications and/or infections with any of Beth’s clients which include home and birth center deliveries.
- All students and/or labor staff at CCBC are trained in water birth and safety protocols.
- At CCBC we follow the Texas Guidelines for Water Birth Safety
There are reasons your midwife might not want you in the water. She may ask you to exit the pool or not get in if any of the following situations occur during your labor or birth:
- Excessive vaginal bleeding
- Concerns about the baby’s size or well-being
- Moderate to thick meconium
- Intensive resuscitation of the baby
- Prolonged or difficult delivery of the placenta
- Difficulty assessing fundus and/or the amount of postpartum blood loss
- Elevated maternal temperature
- Reduction in effective contractions or prolonged rupture of membranes
- Breech or multiple birth
- The midwife’s ability to manage complications
- Maternal ability to get in and out of the tub quickly
- Short cord or cord avulsion
- At the request of the client or the midwife’s discretion
- If you have taken any pain relief that causes sedation, dizziness or low blood pressure (Use of drugs such as these would not allowed at the birth center. So it is unlikely you will be taking anything like this. We include this on our list because the State includes it in their list.)