Meriter is excited to offer women a new option for labor and delivery. Water birth can provide an excellent alternative birth option for healthy women who are expecting an uncomplicated birth. Warm water can provide a soothing and relaxing environment during labor. Many women report a sense of reduced pain with contractions while laboring in the water and your baby will experience a gentle transition during birth. Many studies have described the advantages of water immersion for the delivering mother, however, information concerning newborn outcomes has been limited.
The staff at the Meriter Birthing Center believe that water birth is a safe option for mothers and babies but the following are risks have been associated with water birth:
• Possible undetected problem for you or your baby
• Newborn taking water into lungs during delivery
• Possible infection for you or your baby
• Newborn bleeding from broken umbilical cord
Your Birthing Center nurse is specially trained to care for you should an emergency arise. Your participation in a water birth class will also help you prepare for possible emergencies. To prevent your baby from drowning, taking water into your baby’s lungs or breaking the umbilical cord, your OB provider will gently and quickly guide your baby above the water surface as it is born. You and your baby will be monitored for signs of infection. As with any birth, the obstetrical team will inform you when the risks of delivering in the tub will outweigh the benefits of delivery under water and you may be advised that a traditional delivery is the safest option for you and your baby. The Birthing Center staff will assist you to get out of the tub quickly and safely.
If you are interested in having a water birth the first thing you need to do is discuss it with your provider. Together, you can discuss the eligibility requirements to determine whether or not this method of child birth is an option for you. Once it is determined that you meet the eligibility requirements, you will need to make arrangements to attend a required water birth class. Class dates and times can be found on meriter.com/classes.
Carol Schwartz, RN, BSN
Assistant Nurse Manager
Meriter Birthing Center