|INCREDIBLE photo courtesy of The Mandala Journey|
There were five perinatal deaths among 4,032 births in water; that is a rate of 1.2 per 1,000. In the context of the United Kingdom this rate is similar for low risk deliveries that do not take place in water. Furthermore, none of these five deaths were attributable to delivery in water:
An opportunity is given to recall that the main reason for the birthing pools is to facilitate the birth process and to reduce the need for drugs and other intervention. In order to control the current epidemic of epidurals the point is to divulge a small number of simple updated recommendations in order to make the most effective use of birthing pools.
The main recommendations are based on the fact that immersion in water at the temperature of the body tends to facilitate the birth process during a limited length of time (in the region of an hour or two).
The first practical recommendation is to give great importance to the time when the laboring woman enters the pool. Experienced midwives have many tricks at their disposal to help women be patient enough so that they can ideally wait until five centimetres dilation.
The second recommendation is to avoid planning a birth under water. When a woman has planned a birth under water she may be the prisoner of her project; she is tempted to stay in the bath while the contractions are getting weaker, with the risk of long second and third stages.
At the dawn of a new phase in the history of childbirth one can anticipate that, if a small number of simple recommendations are taken into account, the use of water during labor will seriously compete with epidural anesthesia.
My own experience in the water was wonderful- helped me relax during the most difficult time of labor- transition and delivery. I entered the pool less than an hour before I gave birth as I wanted to wait as long as possible before getting in- I just didn't know how far along I was!