Water has been shown to be incredibly helpful for laboring people in pain, however there are still some actual and theoretical risks that parents and professionals need to be informed on. This informed consent allows those risks to be assessed in conjunction with the benefits so that parents can make an informed choice to use water in their labor and/or birth.
Excerpt: “Water has many soothing benefits and has been shown to calm and comfort, especially during labor and delivery. Often called a “gentle birth,” waterbirth/ water labor is a safe option for both mothers and babies. It has steadily gained in popularity in recent years all around the globe, as many women have found they prefer the calming effects of warm water to a traditional, or “land,” birth.
During a waterbirth, the mother gives birth under water in a birthing tub. She may also spend part of her labor in the tub. This special tub is larger and deeper than a regular bathtub and it allows the mother to try a variety of different positions during labor and delivery. The baby emerges into the warm water before being brought out to take a first breath of air.
One common question is, “Doesn’t the baby try to breathe under water?” Actually, babies start breathing when there is temperature and pressure changes and since the birth tub water is kept at body temperature the baby does not breath until it feels the different air pressure. The baby goes from the fluid in the womb, into the warm water of the tub. The baby is then gently brought out of the water. The mother can hold the baby immediately. After being brought out of the water, the baby takes a first breath of air. The umbilical cord is still attached and the baby continues to get oxygen through the cord.”
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