Not only was giving birth to my daughter in water comforting to me, my baby was in bliss herself. My naked hands were her first real contact with the world, unlike others who have gloves touching them, as I pulled her up out of the water.
“There’s no count of how many babies in the U.S. are delivered in water,” writes Lauran Neergaard in this ABC article. When I registered my daughter’s birth, the paperwork asked where she was born and if it was accidental. I could only answer “home.” It is too bad I couldn’t say “in water.” If the Powers That Be can’t say for certain how many babies are born into water, how can they possibly make a case against water birth?
The report which ABC is reporting on supposedly says the “potential risks of underwater delivery include infection, difficulty regulating the baby’s body temperature and respiratory distress if the baby inhales water.” Firstly, hospital births in general pose a higher risk to a newborn and mother than water births do. My home, for example, had only the germs and such with which I, the mother, was already familiar. The water and tub were clean. Mothers-to-be who plan to birth at home, whether or not in water, educate themselves on the matter and are prepared for many scenarios. Both partners are empowered, which empowers the child, but unlike a hospital birth, these parents can control bacterial and viral risks better than a simple patient in a hospital can.
Secondly, midwives monitor the temperature of the water. Believe me, it is way too hot for the mother due to the workout she is getting, but it is maintained at a temperature to keep the baby safe. I have only visited people in hospitals, so am unable to report on a delivery room itself, but can say the air conditioning was uncomfortable for me. I highly doubt the air temperature in the room is as hot as the water in my tub was. Just who is it who cannot regulate the temperature of the baby, especially as it first comes out of the mother?
Lastly, babies are attached to the placenta, which is attached to the mother, and the babies are not breathing, yet. My baby had such a gentle birth, on some level she must have believed she was still at the stage where no-one expected her to breath. I rubbed her feet and spoke to her. She was happily gazing at me and at others when they came closer to her. These babies are not as a kid in a pool who might panic and inhale water. They move from a confined environment of water to a bigger area. Air has not been introduced to them. They do not know to inhale water. Also, whatever babies do within the womb is what they would instinctively do just outside; although, they are busy getting squished and having their organs strongly massaged. Surely, when they gulp in the water when inutero, they are at rest. Gulping water would most likely not be done when something is clearly going on. I know plenty of youngsters who were born in respiratory distress and all of them were air births in a hospital.
The Academy of Pediatrics should gather numbers, perhaps from midwives, publish the percentage of respiratory distress from water babies and next to it, reveal the percentage of dry birth babies with respiratory distress. This report seems to be very lacking in hard core facts and blatantly ignores the dangers of medically managing births in general.
The ABC article even quotes a nurse, Cathy Emeis, of Caughey, a hospital in Oregon, if anything, stating the case for water births. She said that although the numbers are low, “several dozen” per year, water births “don’t show increased risks.” Several dozen can equal thirty-six. For all we know, thirty-six over an unspecified time period may be 360 plus. If none of these births had any complications, why are the Powers That Be using such lousy evidence to scare women away from birthing in this manner? Are they testing how asleep we really are? Are water birth babies too independent and do not fit in with the Agenda 21 mold?