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In a water birth, a woman immerses herself in a large bathtub or birth pool of warm water during labor and birth. A UCHealth certified nurse midwife (CNM) is there to offer support and guidance throughout the process. The CNM monitors the baby’s well-being by listening to his or her heartbeat at regular intervals and supports the mother during the labor and birth.
Many patients find that the safe, tranquil environment of water helps them relax. Research done on this birthing option suggests that it promotes comfort, supports position changes, decreases time in labor, decreases use of pain medication and procedures, and lowers the patient’s blood pressure and pulse. In addition, many who are familiar with both traditional and water birth methods say that water birth babies appear calmer at birth. Families who have experienced a water birth report a positive and empowering experience.
At UCH, patients who choose water birth can get in and out of the water, shower, and walk or sit on a birthing ball to help support labor. They can also choose to receive nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help manage pain. In addition, patients can also use warm water (hydrotherapy) to support labor, but then birth outside the water. There are situations that arise when your CNM may determine that it is best to birth outside of the water due to concerns such as high blood pressure or meconium-stained amniotic fluid.
Not every family is a candidate for water birth. Prenatal evaluations with the Center for Midwifery at UCH and in-labor assessments determine whether water birth is a safe option for each individual family.
To find out more, call the UCHealth Midwifery Clinic at Anschutz: 720.809.8128