Comprehensive Analyses of Waterbirth Benefits for Mothers and Newborns

Main Article Content

Hannoud Al Moghrabi

Keywords

Midwives and student-midwives’ attitude, midwives and student-midwives’ confidence, midwives and student-midwives’ competence, midwives and student-midwives’ confidence, waterbirth perceived barriers, waterbirth perceived support.

Abstract

A waterbirth reduces pain for mothers and newborns, shortens the second stage of labor, and leads to fewer neonatal respiratory problems and hospitalizations. However, its use in the U.S is limited. Because waterbirth use is impacted by midwives' attitudes, confidence, expertise, and perceived supports and barriers. A national survey of U.S. midwives and midwifery students was conducted to learn their attitudes toward waterbirths, their confidence levels and sources of competence, and their perceptions of support and barriers. Analyses are achieved using emails and questionnaires that are sent to 6352 active members of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Each subscale had quantitative and qualitative questions that permitted quantitative analysis by SPSS 25.0- even for categorized qualitative data. 1001 surveys are initiated and 919 are completed by 804 midwives and 115 students, respectively. The most commonly identified barrier is 'lack of scientific evidence of safety and benefits of waterbirth' (44%), followed by 'unwelcoming environment' (by 37.3%). U.S. midwives show positive attitudes towards waterbirth, probably because waterbirth supports physiologic birth. Waterbirth is also reported to be a confident and competent experience by midwives. It is imperative to support waterbirth practices by accommodating patients' desires for a waterbirth. In order to help overcome this main barrier and experience the many benefits of waterbirth, further research is needed.

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