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Getting water birth approved in local hospital

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I've been developing a little project over the past few months, with the goal of eventually having water births allowed in our local hospital in central Virginia.  Our hospital is getting more progressive, and currently has one inflatable tub availabe for laboring mothers. However, the nurses are hesitant to use them, and it's something the hospital doesn't advertise for the use of laboring mothers.


I am working with a local doula and childbirth educator, as well as a CNM that works at the hospital.  After doing some research, we're planning a few brainstorming sessions, and starting to work on a petition to the hospital.


I was wondering if anyone on the boards has been in a similar position?  I've tried to search the web, but am having trouble finding stories on how hospitals went about agreeing to allow water births.


Thanks so much!


post #2 of 4

Not in a similar position, but I wonder if the problem is really susceptible to petition?


It sounds to me like the issue with access to waterbirth in your area right now isn't that the hospitals are necessarily opposed (although they may be opposed, for various reasons, and that's another issue), but that they don't have the infrastructure to support it.  If the hospital has only a single inflatable pool, waterbirth will only ever be available to one laboring woman at a time.  Pool setup will be time-consuming (especially if it's not something the staff has a lot of practice at), and may be possible only in specific labor and delivery rooms (not all hospital rooms have equivalent floor space, or appropriate plumbing and electrical access in sufficiently convenient places).  If the pool is inflatable, it probably wouldn't hold up terribly well to constant use.  Draining the pool will be another issue, post-birth, and cleaning both the pool and room will be complicated - it probably adds 2-3 hours to the time the room has to be empty between patients.  There may be concerns about spillage, leaks, and whatever's on the floor below the L&D unit.  Janitorial staff may have voiced objections. 


Basically, if there's only one, inflatable, pool, I think you can petition until their ears fall off, and waterbirth will not get more available, or more advertised, or discussed and offered to more women.


I think you'd have better luck looking into fundraising options for outfitting the L&D unit with bathtubs.  The CNM you're working with might be able to tell you what the availability of bathtubs vs. showers is on the unit right now, and whether there are any plans for renovation.  I recognize that large, philanthropic outreach projects are infinitely more difficult then sending a petition, but the petition is going to get, at most, a nice note in response.  You'll need to find someone to throw money at this problem if you really want it to change.

post #3 of 4
The hospital I'm delivering at has a waterbirth option, but I have to purchase and bring along with me an inflatable tub (they referred me to http://www.confidentbeginnings.com Where they have a customized "birthing kit" for patients interested in waterbirths.) My birth team is responsible for setting it up, filling it, and the post-birth cleanup--though I've been told that the staff is helpful with all of that. They used to have a program with a dedicated on-call midwife and hospital-provided tubs but I guess there wasnt enough interest and/or the hospital staff didn't like the extra work. So for a while the whole waterbirth program was discontinued. Then just 5 or 6 months ahi a few of the CNMs fot together and petitioned the hospital with the current setup, and its a go!
So I would say the fact that your hospital has a tub available already is a good sign--at least it shows that they are open to the idea. I could asi my midwife how she and her collegues sentí about their petition, if you think that info could be helpful to you.
post #4 of 4
Ahaha, I posted the above and I noticed that his phone autocorrected a few words into Spanish. Sorry bout that!
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