The Well-Rounded Mama

But are they justified? So, Why NOT NEED Waterbirth Access for Fat Women? Listed below are some of the reasons typically given for restricting excess fat women’s access to water birth, along with an analysis of the attitudes and reasoning behind them. Of the hospitals that have embraced waterbirds, some have embraced it tepidly, numerous restrictions. Specifically, clinics that are tentative about waterbirth usually restrict its use to “low-risk” patients only.

Since fats women are automatically viewed as “high-risk” by many doctors (even when they have not developed any problems at all), some private hospitals have BMI cutoffs, above which water birth is not an option anymore. Applying the “risky” label (and accompanying restrictions) across the board to all women of size is ridiculous. Another reason some clinics restrict waterbirth in women of size is the belief of most obese women as having blood circulation pressure issues (latent or overt), and for that reason being at risk to stroke out at any moment during labor.

This is the result of hyperbole about the perceived risks of obesity and increasing advertising of the theory that a fat woman’s pregnancy is ultra-high-risk. Ironically, research implies that being immersed in drinking water actually will lower blood circulation pressure, and may actually be considered a good way to help prevent this concern.

Although it isn’t true that excess fat women are ticking time bombs just waiting around to stroke out in labor, if it were, hospitals might actually be preventing these women in one intervention more likely to help them KEEP normal blood pressure. Another concern is making dystocia (baby’s head is born but the shoulders get stuck on the way out). Fat women are recognized to be more at-risk for shoulder dystocia, and doctors are afraid that taking time for you to get the mother out of the water might delay emergency measures had a need to get the kid born properly.

However, several studies have shown that when baby size and diabetes are controlled for, obese women are no more likely to experience make dystocia than women of average size. Just being fat does NOT raise the risk for shoulder dystocia and forbidding waterbirth on that basis is illogical and unfair. However, fat women do generally have bigger babies, on average (although it should be noted that even so, MOST fat women don’t have big babies). Because bigger babies have higher rates of make dystocia, many healthcare providers fear having ANY unwanted fat woman delivery in the water.

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Their concern is that being in drinking water might cause a hold off in the maneuvers which may be needed to reduce make dystocia. But health care providers experienced in waterbirth know that making dystocia may be less likely in waterbirds because of the mother’s capability to shift position easily and open up more space in the pelvis when you are off the tailbone.

One research found make dystocia in waterbirth rate of 0.16%, hardly a raging epidemic. If that didn’t work, they note that the process of helping the woman escape the tub was usually enough to rotate the mother’s pelvis around the baby’s shoulders and get the infant out without further maneuvers.

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