Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Published: Jul 6, 2011 09:10 Updated: Jul 6, 2011 09:10
Natural birth enthusiasts are all abuzz about the opening of a new hospital in Al-Ain that will offer birth in a specialized tub. Water births were first introduced in the 1960s and gained significant popularity by the 1990s. At first they were mainly used in the home birth setting, but they are now offered as a choice in many Western hospitals as well.
Dayle had a water birth at home in the US with her second child: “The water was warm and soothing. The warmth of the birth pool cut the pain of my contractions in half!”
Gertrude had a water birth in Germany with her first child and says, “The best thing was the warm, light feeling inside the water during the expulsion phase, water birth is great!”
Al-Ain Cromwell Women and Children Hospital’s birthing floor should be open next month and has three large birthing rooms, including one with a squatting stool and the first water birth pool in the region! This is exciting news for the women of Al-Ain and a ray of hope for other areas of the Middle East (including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and others) where natural-birth advocates are clamoring for more supportive birthing facilities.
“I’m most excited about their implementation of a midwifery model of care in which women are listened to as individuals and pregnancy is seen as a normal life event,” said Tami Stroud, a professional birth companion. “I have great hope for them. So many women just want a normal, safe, low intervention, natural childbirth and I think Al-Ain Cromwell Women and Children Hospital can deliver that.”
The maternity unit at the new hospital is led by American Midwife, Sandi Blankenship, a water birth expert.
“In a good hospital, 50 to 60 percent of mothers should be delivered by a midwife,” Blankenship says. In her private midwifery practice in the States she attended over 700 water births. She explains: “It’s important to follow a set protocol to determine which patients are allowed to use the water tub for birth. There also must be standard procedures for handling any complications while birthing in the water.”