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Hospital Now Offers Water Births

April 12, 2012, 6:06 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Hospital Now Offers Water Births
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

It's been proven to reduce labor pain and delivery time.  Now, expectant mothers can choose to have a water birth at a local hospital.

Lisa Swenson enjoys spending time with her three-week-old baby girl, Luca, even though being a mother-of-three is a lot of work.

"She had a few rough nights where she had her nights and days mixed up. With two other kids getting up at 7 a.m., that was a little hard," Swenson said.

But Swenson says delivering Luca was, by far, the easiest of the three. Swenson was the first woman to choose to have a water birth at Sanford.

"I was only in there for an hour before I had the baby.  So, it was really relaxing," Swenson said.

During a water birth at Sanford, women deliver their baby in an inflatable pool.

The women are up to their armpits in water, and they can move around the pool, which can help speed up labor.

"Any of us who like water when we're tired or sick or just even getting in the pool, you have that awe factor. It just feels good, that warm water," Sanford Certified Nurse Midwife Terry Engelmann said.

Engelmann says the most common concern she gets is whether a newborn baby will drown, but babies don't actually breathe until air hits their face.

16:00:34 "They go from the vaginal vault into the water, and there's no air hitting their face or chest, so they don't start to breathe yet," Engelmann said.

Engelmann says not only is the water birth good for the baby, but the mother also often has less pain and delivers quicker, which were a couple of benefits for Swenson.

"With the other two, I was hooked up to a monitor, and they said you could move.  But as soon as you moved, the monitor fell off and they came running in and they put it back on. You're basically stuck in the bed, and that is a horrible way to give birth," Swenson said.

An epidural is not an option when having a water birth.  Women who are on medication for diabetes or high blood pressure and those in pre-term labor should not deliver in water.  Studies have shown few risks.  But if the water in the pool is not clean, there is a possible risk of infection.

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