I have received so many questions about whether it is safe to attend water labors and birth right now in light of COVID-19 spreading so rapidly. Will the water contribute to the spread? Many of my midwife friends are already reporting that hospitals have closed their tubs and are not allowing women to use them at this time.
I started looking at the waterbirth researched, check with WHO and CDC, talked to researches and did a short survey of waterbirth practices throughout the world. Waterbirth never stopped during the COVID outbreak in China. I have trained the majority of the staff of hospitals in China. The UK put up precautions and what it really boils down to is the relative risk versus the available resources. In this case, Personal Protective Equipment.
I cannot tell anyone exactly what to do. I understand the dilemma and the heartbreak of having to tell a mother that she cannot use a birth pool after she has already given birth three or four times in one before. This is exactly what may need to happen, depending on the circumstance. My article will give more details about that. I’ll also have new cleaning guidelines and an new informed consent for anyone who wants to download one.
This is a time for trusting what we know, acting responsibly and getting through this the best way we know how. Having to clean equipment and take care of all the responsibilities of midwifery make be too much for some and that is OKAY. Be good to yourself first.
If you cannot imagine assisting with a birth without water, then don’t. Use the precautions that I recommend and our team of practitioners who reviewed the article agree can make you feel safer and make your families feel good. At this point, the decision is going to be a personal one.
Sending you all my best and let me know what you think. Ask questions and know that Waterbirth International is here to support you with education and resources as well as on Birthpedia.
Barbara Harper, RN, CLD, CCCE, Midwife
Certified Kangaroo Mother Care Consultant
Waterbirth International Founder/Director
Author – Gentle Birth Choices book and DVD
Waterbirth Certification and Education Courses
Blissborn Birth Hypnosis Educator/Teacher Trainer