The Midwives of New Jersey – WaterBorn™
The Midwives of New Jersey are in the business of changing the world through birth. We believe that encouraging and supporting women in natural birth enables them to see how incredible and powerful they are and will change them as women and as mothers forever.
For this reason we are pleased to offer our clients the option of a Waterbirth. We offer Waterbirth in the comfort of your very own home with the use of one of our inflatable birth tubs, at Morristown Medical Center in Morristown NJ, at Hoboken University Medical Center or at Our Birthing Center. Each of our midwives and midwife assistants have been trained in our proprietary WaterBorn™ program and are experts at overseeing and assisting in the labor and delivery of our water babies.
We caught our first water baby in March 2000. Since that time, we have become the area’s leading expert in Waterbirth, delivering over 1000 waterbabies without a single complication related to the birth taking place in the water! In fact, over 40% of our clients choose to have Waterbirths.
When our clients express the desire for a waterbirth, we provide them with a consent form outlining the circumstances in which water labor and birth can occur. During active labor, we stay with the woman almost continuously. We monitor the mom and baby very carefully minute to minute, assessing the safety of laboring and delivering in the tub. We strongly believe that the key to safety is the presence and assessment of the midwife.
We truly believe that waterbirth is the single best thing to happen to birth, ever! Not only does it provide women with an alternative method for pain relief, but it enables us to create a sacred space for them to labor and deliver their babies. We have also found that women are much more successful at accomplishing an unmedicated birth due to the comfort they find in the tub because water immersion decreases adrenaline and increases endorphins and oxytocin. High levels of oxytocin, endorphins and adrenalin are also the perfect hormonal cocktail for the initiation of the most important bond a human will ever experience so laboring in water is great!
Additionally, perineal trauma is often significantly lessened in Waterbirth because women are able to better tolerate the time required to stretch the perineum in a warm tub of water. And, because the baby will not fall but actually float in the water, the mother is able assume a very commonly preferred position, on her knees with the baby delivering beneath her which makes it less difficult to deliver the baby, causes less perineal trauma and allows her greater autonomy. Delivering in the water is wonderful for both mother and baby!
And best of all, our Waterborn™ clients often report that even though they had people around them during their waterbirth, they felt completely alone to bond with their babies after the birth; this is nature at its best.
How Safe is Waterbirth?
In April 2014, waterbirth made national headlines when the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a joint Opinion Statement that questioned the safety of waterbirth. In their statement, they suggested that waterbirth should be treated as an experimental practice that should occur in the context of a clinical research study. Their conclusion was based on their opinion that waterbirth does not have any benefits and may pose dangers for the newborn.
In response to the statement, the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC), the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Midwives of New Jersey released statements endorsing waterbirth as a safe, evidence-based option. Additionally, the AABC released preliminary data from nearly 4,000 waterbirths from birth centers all over the United States, supporting waterbirth as safe for mothers and their babies.When waterbirth is offered within proven guidelines, as is our Waterborn™ program, it is incredibly safe.
The Midwives of New Jersey have offered waterbirth since the year 2000 without any complications related to the birth being in the water. Over 1000+ beautiful, healthy waterbabies later, we have living proof that waterbirth is safe!
We have managed plenty of normal childbirth complications during waterbirth; we are equipped to manage shoulder dystocia, hemorrhage, abnormal fetal heart tones, and babies requiring resuscitation quickly and efficiently with no more morbidity than if the woman labored and delivered in the air. In fact, waterbirth has been found to decrease the transmission of Group B strep, which has been known to cause pneumonia in newborns. An article published by Cohain looks at the studies included in a Cochrane review of immersion in water during labor and birth (Cluett et al). Cohain states that “The (Cochrane review) literature provides a single case of early onset newborn Group B Strep (GBS) among 4432 waterbirths, suggesting that low-risk women who give birth in water may have a far lower rate of newborn GBS than women who have a dry birth. The last reported rate of newborn GBS for dry births was 1 in 1450.”
The 2006 Joint statement from the Royal College of Midwives “Immersion in Water During Labour and Birth”, states that “All healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies at term should have the option of water birth available to them and should be able to proceed to a water birth if they wish.”
The Science Behind Waterbirth
There are a host of scientific reasons that help to explain why babies do NOT take a breath while under water:
- Prostaglandin E2 levels from the placenta cause a slowing down or stopping of fetal breathing movements. When the baby is born and the Prostaglandin levels are still high, the baby’s muscles used for breathing simply do not work, thus engaging the first inhibitory response.
- All babies are born experiencing mild hypoxia, or lack of oxygen. Hypoxia causes the baby to experience apnea and swallowing, not breathing or gasping.
- Fetal lungs are already filled with fluid. That fluid is there to protect the lungs, and to keep the spaces open that will eventually exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. For this reason it is very difficult, if not improbable, for fluids from the birth tub to pass into those spaces that are already filled with fluid. One physiologist states, “the viscosity of the fluid naturally occurring in the lungs is so thick that it would be nearly impossible for any other fluids to enter.”
- The last important inhibitory factor is known as the Dive Reflex, which revolves around the larynx. The larynx is covered with chemoreceptors or taste buds. In fact, the larynx has five times as many as taste buds as the whole surface of the tongue! So, when a solution hits the back of the throat, passing the larynx, the taste buds interpret the substance and the glottis automatically closes and the solution is then swallowed rather than inhaled.
- Kay - Before I decided to have a baby, I had decided that I wanted to have a water birth. I wanted a hospital birth in case things became complicated during the delivery and was shocked at how few options there were in our area. Fortunately, thanks to a campaign led my the Midwives of New Jersey, there …
Benefits of Waterbirth Include:
For the Mother:
- Buoyancy of water improves a woman’s ability to move around and change positions in labor. Water immersion also decreases energy expenditure for the mother.
- The tub creates a safe place for the mother to labor, where she feels “held,” warm and supported.
- Significant decrease in pain. Women are more focused more and have greater control of their labor.
- Decreases blood pressure, decreases stress hormones and elevates endorphins and oxytocin. Because of this type of hormone shift, labor progresses more efficiently with less discomfort to the mother.
- More controlled deliveries. Mothers are able to hold their babies on the perineum more easily to allow stretching and decrease trauma to the vulva. They feel less pain and pressure and so are less out of control themselves as the baby delivers.
- Christina - Having had the opportunity to deliver both of my children naturally with two different midwife practices, I was extremely grateful to have access to low intervention hospital birth with midwife assistance each time. While many hospitals have rigid protocols, rules and regulations which would not have provided the birth experiences I so strongly desired, I …
For the Baby:
- Gentle entrance into the world directly into Mommy and Daddy’s arms.
- Less exposure to medicine because the mother was able to tolerate the pain of her labor
- A huge dose of oxytocin from the natural birth assists in wiring the baby’s brain to connect emotionally with others
- Naturally born babies breastfeed instinctively
- Has a mother who is in an ecstatic state who can bond deeply with her baby, children and partner
For the World:
- Creates mothers who are strong and confident in their ability to mother
- Provides the optimal circumstances from the start of life for children to learn about love and to form intimate relationships
- Deepens family relationships
- Lowers costs to the healthcare system by decreasing intervention in labor and birth that can lead to complications