I’m always surprised something as natural and life-giving as water could be a source of controversy!
But walk into a hospital expecting a water birth here in El Paso and you’ll get an earful about how unsafe water is. Nevermind that 71% of our planet is covered in it, or that your baby has been blissfully floating in it for nine months without a problem.
The fact that you can’t have a water birth in any El Paso hospital may give it an air of mystery and danger. But warm water can actually be an incredibly safe and soothing medium for transitioning your baby into the outside world.
How warm water supports labor and birth
Water is a natural pain reliever and relaxant. Think of the way that a warm bath melts away the stress and aches of a hard day.
That same hypnotic effect gives a laboring woman the peace and relief she needs to progress through her dilation process. But the real wonder is the way water birth releases natural pain-relieving endorphins. Some midwives even call water “nature’s epidural.”
Water lessens the pull of gravity on her tired body, so she can move and rock baby deeper down without exhausting herself. A warm soak can also increase levels of oxytocin to encourage productive contractions and a faster labor.
Is water birth really safe?
At The Retreat we take the health of our mamas and babies very seriously. And despite its absence at hospitals, water birth has a strong evidence-based reputation as an effective, safe, and soothing way to deliver a baby.
Here’s a great study that found women who labor and birth in the water have shorter labors and less need for pain relief. The study also found that the infants who were born into water didn’t have any negative repercussions. And many other studies have had similar findings. That’s why we’re confident in the safety and beauty of the El Paso water births we facilitate at The Retreat Birth Center.
One of the major fears hospital practitioners have about water birth is that a maternal hemorrhage might be hard to notice in the water. But midwives know how the post-birth water should look in the tub or pool they’re using. If the color becomes too concentrated, the midwife will have the mother leave the water for assessment.
Water birth isn’t right for every situation
Your midwife is the best source to find out if a water labor or birth is a good fit for you and your baby, but there are a few situations that might preclude water birth, such as:
Infection with some STIs that are transferable in water
Special circumstance births (breech, multiples)
High maternal blood pressure
It’s also important to note that hot water (more than a few degrees above body temperature) is not good for laboring and delivering in. If the water is too hot it can increase the woman’s heart rate and blood pressure to the point of distressing the baby. It’s ideal for the baby to transition from the womb to the birthing pool or tub with as little temperature change as possible.
The best water birth in El Paso is at The Retreat
If you want to experience the beauty of water birth in El Paso, we welcome you to come visit our birth suites and talk to the midwives at The Retreat Birth Center. We have a wonderful birthing tub with plenty of room for movement.
We look forward to answering your questions about the midwife model of care and your choices for birth.
To schedule your free tour and consultation, please call (915) 308-5000 or click here.