5 Myths About Water Births

Drowning & Water Temperatures

Myth #3: I worry that my baby will drown if she's born under water.

Harper says: A baby is actually an aquatic animal, receiving all of its oxygen supply from the placental circulation and bypassing its own lungs. The placenta acts as the filtration system and the breathing system for the baby in the womb. When the baby emerges into the water, that same system is still at work. The newborn who is lifted out of the birth water receives a signal to switch over from fetal circulation to newborn circulation, causing it to pump blood into the lungs for the first time.

Myth #4: All water temperatures are the same during a water birth.

Collins says: If you overheat the mom, you overheat the baby, which can lead to fetal distress. That's why the tub should be heated to 98 degrees, max, and you should remain hydrated throughout the labor and delivery. You may want the water cooler than 98 degrees, and that's okay, but you should never have it warmer. If you're considering a water birth, be sure to work with a midwife who keeps written policies about the water temperature, be sure there's a visible thermometer in the water and be sure your temperature (and the water temperature) is checked every half hour.

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