2017 Spain Waterbirth Certification Tour
As the educational Director of Waterbirth International, I toured six cities in Spain this May, offering Professional Waterbirth Certification Courses in four cities. The courses were held in hospitals in Barcelona, Algeciras and Granada and a conference center in Murcia. I also presented a four hour Gentle Birth workshop in a hospital in Córdoba and a one day Embracing the Miracle workshop for parents in a Yoga Center in Cambrils. Every workshop was well attended and several of them had waiting lists of eager midwives and doctors. Waterbirth Certification Courses are already planned for May/June of 2018 in Spain. During the Barcelona workshop a doctor asked how she could become more involved with the waterbirth movement and areas of research to consider. I include suggestions for research topics in the course. We certainly need more evidence. I proposed that she begin by creating a survey for all Spanish hospitals to see the current use of water for both labor and birth. After identifying current hospitals which offer the use of water, then ask them to participate in a retrospective analysis of their outcomes. She was very excited to begin this extensive and far-reaching project.
Barriers to Waterbirth
Spain utilizes midwives, but the budget for maternity care is limited by the government. There are plenty of midwives doing primary care, but there is still a shortage of midwives in the hospitals due to the budgetary constraints. Those restrictions also prevent the installation of waterbirth equipment and proper training of midwives. The goal of Waterbirth Certification Courses is to prepare the providers with the necessary tools to institute practices, create guidelines, practice safely, sponsor research projects and to effectively prepare parents. There is a crucial lack of childbirth education courses for parents throughout Spain. The use of doulas is also not common. I spent a few minutes talking about how the use of doulas in busy maternity care hospitals could increase patient satisfaction, make breastfeeding more successful and reduce post-partum depression from the one to one care and emotional support provided by doulas. I also sang and danced my famous song(sung to the tune of The Farmer and the Cowboy from Oklahoma,) “Oh the midwives and the doulas should be friends..putting mothers and babies FIRST, protecting normal gentle birth. Oh, the midwives and the doulas can be friends.” That initiated a lot of laughter.
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