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Water Birth: Benefits & Risks

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Preparing for a Water Birth

Before making the decision, talk with your doctor to make sure that a water birth is safe and appropriate for you. Check to see if your local hospital offers water births. If not, you'll either need to either choose another birthing facility or deliver at home. Giving birth at home has its own risks, so be sure you discuss this option thoroughly with your doctor.

You can rent a birthing tub for about $300 or buy it for about $1,000. Some insurance companies will cover the cost.

To ensure that your water birth is as safe as possible, be sure you do the following:

  • Find a doctor, nurse, or certified midwife who is trained in water births to attend the birth.
  • Make sure that the water temperature is set at no more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hospital birthing pools are typically designed to stay at the correct temperature. Also make sure that the pool and the water in the pool are clean.
  • Drink plenty of water during the delivery to prevent dehydration.
  • Have a plan in place in case there are complications.
  • If there is any concern about your safety or the health of your baby, get out of the birthing pool.
  • The baby may have his first bowel movement (meconium) while in the womb. Special care needs to be taken to prevent the baby from inhaling or ingesting any of the meconium in the water.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Matthew Brennan, MD on October 02, 2012
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