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Water Births at IVCH
IVCH’s new obstetrics unit is providing a therapeutic way for mothers to give birth. The addition of birthing tubs gives moms-to-be the option of water births, a delivery method that allows the baby a smooth transition from the womb. By giving birth under water the baby is introduced into an environment similar to the amniotic sac. Infants don’t naturally gasp for air until they are introduced to oxygen and will continue to breathe via the umbilical cord, making water births a safe and natural delivery option.
A Calm and Relaxing Delivery
The therapeutic benefits and calming sensation of a warm bath is a great remedy for tension and stress. IVCH’s obstetrics unit is applying that philosophy to provide women with this exciting new birthing option.
“Deep water immersion increases pain-killing hormones and decreases stress hormones during labor,” says Angela Reidner, certified nurse-midwife at IVCH. “You can immediately see it on a laboring woman’s face and in her body language when she sinks down into water. Her brow relaxes. Her shoulders relax. And when her body relaxes, her labor can progress more easily.”
Women are turning to water births for the calming effects as a natural alternative to epidurals and narcotic pain relief. Water births can help mother and child by:
- Lowering the mother’s high-blood pressure caused by anxiety.
- Lowering stress and allowing the mother’s body to produce endorphins to tolerate pain.
- Causing the perineum to become more elastic and relaxed. This reduces the chances and severity of tearing and the need for stitches.
- Giving the baby a sense of security through a less stressful delivery.
A Safe Delivery Option
During a water birth the baby spends no more than a few seconds underwater. Babies transition from the body-temperature fluid of the amniotic sac into the body-temperature water of the birthing tub. Infants are stimulated to take their first breath when they come into contact with room-temperature air.
Water births provide a number of benefits that make a safe option for a mother and baby:
- The buoyancy of water births promotes more efficient contractions.
- Blood circulation is improved which leads to better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, which means less pain for the mom and more oxygen for the baby.
- The baby has been in amniotic fluid for nine months, water births provide a smooth transition to a familiar environment.
To learn more about the therapeutic benefits of water births visit http://www.americanpregnancy.org.
Contact our obstetrics nurse manager, Angela O’Bryant. Reach her by calling 815.780.3319, or send an e-mail to Angela.O'Bryant@ivch.org.