It is important to identify your fears about labor and birth. Educate yourself by gathering as much BALANCED information as possible. Examine the various viewpoints and various "sides" to an issue. Read books and articles, watch videos of actual births, peruse the Internet and talk to people you trust. Set-up a consultation with a waterbirth consultant. Finally, make sure that your birth attendant (whether a midwife or a physician) and labor support people are both supportive of and knowledgeable about waterbirth.
Finally, make the necessary preparations:
Hospital Policies/Procedures If you plan to give birth in a hospital, make sure you start the process of inquiry very early and that you are well informed of the necessary steps to preparing and arranging for a waterbirth in a hospital setting. First, research individual hospitals. Which hospitals will permit the baby to be born into water? Some hospitals permit women to labor in water, but not to give birth into water. Make sure you are clear on hospital policies regarding birth into water. Contact the nurse manager or perinatal coordinator of the hospital. Send written inquiries to individual hospitals about their respective policies and procedures pertaining to waterbirth.
In planning for a hospital-based waterbirth, you will need to send letters to various hospital administrators and you will want a hospital-sanctioned professional who will act as your primary birth attendant to support your request. Your letters should include a clear description of your request and a clear-cut plan for set-up and implementation. If possible, set up a face-to-face meeting with the people to whom you've written. Better yet, try and organize a joint meeting.
Connect with various organizations that support waterbirth. Ask for research packages regarding sample protocols, pool kit, videos, books, waterbirth conference material or other supportive literature. (See websites)
Renting A Tub/Getting the Necessary Supplies
Speak with your birth attendant about renting a tub. She will likely be able to provide you with names of people and organizations for tub rentals. Some midwives or labor support doulas even rent them themselves.
Make sure you have the additional necessary supplies:
- an extra towels to place around the tub
- a tap adapters oa new red hot water hose (25ft)
- a tub thermometer
- an underwater flashlight to place at the bottom of the pool
- a non clouding waterproof mirror if the mother wants to look as she pushes
- a "waiting bowl" for the placenta birthed in the water
- a "pool noodle" to hang one's arms and chest over while allowing one to float
- a birth ball, 65 cm partially inflated to lean or sit on in or out of the tub
- a scooper for birth and fecal matter
- a yellow rubber ducky to float on top of the water welcoming your baby to the world
- a snorkel for breathing underwater during a contraction. Make sure everything is clean and sterilized.
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