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help me understand water birth please!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I met with a few midwives before deciding on the wonderful gal I finally decided on. With each of them, I discussed that I am interested in water birth. One of the MW's told me she does not do a water birth for babies over 8 pounds because if she has to help the sholders out, she only has 4 minutes before the baby dies, and she needs the mom on dry land, not water, to be able to do that. She also said she is not a huge fan of water birth because the baby tends to asperate water during delivery.

I remember when I was pushing my daughter out, it was alot of one push out, then she would slide a bit back in, then push out again, and then back in...kind of one step back for every 2 steps forward.

What happens during a water birth if the babys head is pushed out a bit beofre the rest of the body comes out.

The MW i decided on is very supportive of water birth, and has no weight restrictions for babies to be born in water. I trust her, and she is much more experienced than the other gal. I am curious if there is any validity to her statements.
post #2 of 15
Well, I know that the basic biology of a baby basically makes it so that they don't take a breath until they come in contact with air.......so I can't imagine aspiration being a huge issue. My midwives do primarily water birth and we've seen a million of their videos........that was never an issue. They've also never said anything about the size.....to be honest, that sounds kind of wacky. I am expecting a bigger baby, probably over 8lbs, and my midwives haven't said a word about that being an issue. That whole 4 minutes until the baby dies is something I've NEVER heard before in my life. Weird.
post #3 of 15
I have never heard of a baby "aspirating" in a water birth after head born. Sounds like the first midwife has some misinformation and fear about waterbirth. How can she possibly know how big the baby would be before birth to restrict births over 8lbs?

I birthed in a freestanding water birth center. 98% of their births were in the tubs. They have a very good plan in place for "sticky" shoulders or true shoulder distocia(sp?) and I know a couple moms personally that experienced SD at the birth center and it was handled wonderfully. Also, freedom of movement and position change in the water helps facilitate a roomier pelvis. Mom's are usually kneeling or hands and knees to begin with.

I am sure some others can give you more specifics as far as aspiration goes....

I do know I would never birth on dry land again
post #4 of 15
It sounds to me like that midwife is just parroting what she was told during her training and that she hasn't actually seen any of the complications she describes.

Mothers who are not drugged should be capable of moving to assist the midwife in any emergency. It is not that much harder to change positions in a tub than it is on land. I don't see how flipping over to hands and knees or standing (both of which would lift you out of the water and provide better visability) would be any harder than it would be on land -- and may be easier than on a bed. Now that would be a sight to see -- a midwife who said "I don't deliver babies over 8 lbs on hospital beds because it is too hard to change positions there if I have to assist the shoulders. HAHAHAHA!"

I would challenge that midwife to describe her experience with aspirated pool water and differentiate it from the fluid that is inside every baby's lungs at the moment of birth. Babies lungs are not filled with air in utero!

To answer your question about birthing the head slowly and breathing -- there are a lot of reasons why babies won't breathe underwater, including the pressure on their chests which prevent them from inhaling, to the dive reflex that closes off their glottises to the lack of temperature change from utero to the birth pool.

I am glad you found another midwife. This one makes me want to shout "Run away! Run away!"
post #5 of 15
In the instance of a shoulder dystocia, we don't know how long babies have before they die. I mean, I've been at two shoulder dystocias - one was 7 minutes from head to birth and the other was 4 minutes. Both babies were fine. If you have a baby who is seriously depressed and oxygen deprived BEFORE the birth of the head, that could compound the chances of successful resus, but even then, you can typically resus a baby - there just might be some brain issues if the lack of O2 was severe and prolonged.

That statement is just total bunk.

I feel so good about waterbirth with big babies because moms can assume a variety of positions to help ease their baby out without being on their back or tailbone. The water helps with perineal tears, etc.

If a baby, big or small, born or still in utero, experiences serious lack of oxygen, it will attempt a breath. That is why meconium aspiration syndrome happens IN UTERO and not with the first breath, as thought. So, if the head is out, baby could attempt a breath if there is serious problems, but it would be very rare and not at all life threatening. Because the chest is still in the vaginal canal, the lungs cannot fully inflate. Chances are, it would just take some extra time or maybe some blow-by O2 or some puffs to get baby going.

I just had a sticky shoulder 11lb 9oz baby and she got on hands & knees in the tub with her butt out in the air and I worked baby free. No problems. In fact, as soon as the shoulders were free, the baby rotated right out into dad's hands.
post #6 of 15
You might check out www.waterbirth.org

and email Barbara Harper---she is fantastic!

That first mw's lack of accurate information really scares me. Really. To me, it's no better than reading in Newsweek the quote from the OB who said basically the same thing about babies aspirating water....why is practicing on opinion somehow ok?

I'm so happy to hear you've found a mw you're comfy with
post #7 of 15
How would they know if the baby is over 8lbs until after it has been born?
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I asked the same thing, how does she know the weight. She said she can make an educated guess by feeling and measuring your belly, as well as using past children as a prediction.

This, among many other points of our conversation, are the reason I am not using her.
post #9 of 15
Oh, that is just crazy. You know, I can no more guess weight - wait, no I can. I tell women "Your baby will be between 6 and 10 pounds"....heh!

As an example, I had two clients, measuring exactly the same measurements. Both babies felt relatively similar in size. When born, one was 11lbs 9oz, the other 7lbs 10oz.

I guess I'm lacking the x-ray vision/scale hands that some midwives feel blessed with. Thank goodness! The 11lb mama said she is SO GLAD she had no idea how big he was until he was born!
post #10 of 15
Everyone else pretty much said it but I would have to just add on that I would be hesitant to hire a midwife who automatically assumed there would be a problem. I like to have confidence in my birthing mamas, kwim?
post #11 of 15
My last birth was a waterbirth at a freestanding birth center. I think being in the water makes it easier to move around. I think I would have been stuck if I was in bed.

I have heard that babies will not try to breathe till they are brought to the surface of the water, once their chest is delivered. My baby had no problems at birth. It was great! I highly recommend waterbirth.
post #12 of 15
My dd was born in water and she was 9 lbs. I am extremely petite and didn't tear or anything. I think the water helped her to arrive safely actually, I might have had more problems pushing her out if not in the water. My midwife never worried about a problem with the waterbirth.
post #13 of 15
Isn't there a culture where the women go and give birth in little tide pool at the ocean? I think I remember reading about one. Now, how can an entire culture survive water births if they are so dangerous?
If that's what you want, that's what you should have. I hope you find the right midwife that is willing to give you what you wish. Birth should be an amazing experience that makes the mother happy, not the midwife/doctor!
post #14 of 15
Slightly T - Beah guessed dd at almost 8 pounds, but not quite- maybe 7 3/4 and she was 7'12"-- 7 3/4!!

As for waterbirth, babies don't aspirate water during delivery any more than they aspirate vaginal fluid during delivery. They don't take a breath until they come up for air seconds after birth. In Russia they used to believe that the longer they stayed under water, the better cosmonauts they would be. There were some crazy resuscitations in those days because babies were held under water after birth for minutes which is too long for sure. Russia is where many people go to the BLack Sea to birth their babies in pretty cool water- which is considered risque here where we recommend 97-99 degree water. Water birth is a subculture in Russia, with some weird wives tales and histories, but for the most part, I think they do it well.

Also, because changing positions in the water is so easy, it seems to me shoulder dystocia might be helped by water birth. ALso, your midwife team is shoulder dystocia competent, just ask them about it, they have a great response.

post #15 of 15
[[I am glad you found another midwife. This one makes me want to shout "Run away! Run away!"]]

My thoughts exactly!! Sounds like she'd bring some real negative energy to the birth--not to mention fear!

My dd was born at home in a pool, and it was awesome! Just wanted to say that her head was born and I had a rest of about a minute b/n contx. It was so interesting that her head was out, waiting for the rest to be born. So now I *know* that babies don't breathe before they are out of the water!! I totally recommend wb to anyone open to it. Oh and she was 9 lb 6 oz

(btw, I was on my knees, leaning over the edge of the pool. My butt is very prominent in the video!!)
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