An increasing number of African American women have had their babies through a water birth and many others are considering it. When planning a water birth, it’s essential to know what needs to be covered so things go smoothly. Having all the information also ensures that you’re making the best decision for you and your baby.
What Happens During a Water Birth
A water birth generally means being in a bathtub or inflatable tub for some or all of labor and delivery. It’s up to your medical team to determine how long you’ll be in the water. Some medical professionals prefer to remove the mother from the water once it’s time for delivery.
The rationale behind that is to ensure there’s enough time to move quickly in case of an emergency. For example, if a C-section is needed, one doctor estimates you could lose up to 5 minutes just trying to get a laboring mother out of a tub.
If you’re given the go-ahead to deliver in the tub, however, you can expect medical personnel to make a smooth transition from coaching you through delivery to getting your baby out of the water for the first breath of air.
At that point, they will assess your health, as well as your baby’s, to ensure that everything is okay.
What You Need to Have a Water Birth
With the increasing popularity of water births, it’s not hard to find hospitals and birthing centers that offer them. However, if you would like to give birth at home, there are a few supplies that you’ll need to secure. These include:
- An appropriate tub – your bathtub might be able to work if it’s big enough to keep your stomach submerged
- A birth pool liner
- A scooper to remove solid materials from the pool after the birth
- A method of heating the pool to maintain a temperature between 97 and 100° F
- A water hose and an adapter for the water supply
- A floating thermometer
- Tarp and plastic sheeting
- A back-up plan for hot water such as large pots
- Sea salt and Epsom salts
Since you’re giving birth at home, it will be up to you to ensure that you’re working with a licensed midwife who has the support of an OB/GYN.