Birth baths unused, lacking staff

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BIRTHING baths opened in 2009 at the maternity unit at Flinders Medical Centre have not yet been used.

[Apparently] ... there were not enough qualified staff to operate all of the hospital's birthing baths - almost two years after they were opened.

... clients admitted through the hospital's Birthing and Assessment Suite had complained they could not use the three available baths during labour, while those admitted through the Southern Midwifery Group Practice were given access to baths.

... water birthing can aid pain management for women during labour.

Not to mention the fact that it is safer and cheaper than providing epidurals.

In an emailed statement, the FMC was unable to clarify how many baths were being used ... "Of [5060] deliveries, 132 women gave birth in a bath ...

So ... what does this look like? Women go on the hospital tour and see lovely baths for birthing in. "Can I have a waterbirth here?" they ask. "Yes" comes the reply. Woman turns up in labour ... but none of the midwives on staff is "accredited" to attend a waterbirth. Woman "can't" birth in the water. Unless she sits on the plug and refuses to get out. In all seriousness, waterbirths are safer than alternative pain management options such as morphine and epidurals. Women who have had a waterbrith rate the experience very highly and it is safe for babies. From a midwifery perspective, waterbirths are easier to facilitate than land births because the babies simply come out. There is no need to support the head as it is being born as the water does this beautifully. Once the baby has been born, the parents and/or the midwife simply assists the baby to the surface for immediate skin-to-skin contact. While the third stage can occur in the bath, some women opt to get out for the third stage but it's really a personal choice. If you had a waterbirth, how was the experience for you?