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New research on water births could see more mothers asking for them in hospitals

Would you choose or did you have a water birth, mama?

New research on water births could see more mothers asking for them in hospitals

Should a pool be part of my birth plan? Many pregnant women find themselves asking this exact question. While the number of water births in the United States is unknown, according to the New York Times, increasing sales and rentals of birthing pools suggest more women are choosing the method (see celebrities like Hilary Duff and Bekah Martinez as an example).

But water births are are less popular with hospitals and some medical organizations. In recent years both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have raised concerns about water births, citing a lack of research and "case reports of rare but serious adverse effects in the newborn" and it's estimated that fewer than 10% of American maternity wards offer water birth as an option.

But a new study published in the journal BIrth concludes water births are just as safe non-water births and that women who give birth in pools and tubs have fewer first and second-degree tears.

"The long and short of it is that if you use proper techniques...the outcomes are very good," says Lisa Kane Low, the study's senior author and professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing. "They mirror what we see in international studies of water birth."

The study suggests that for healthy moms with uncomplicated pregnancies, water births can be an option. This affirms the position of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), which states: "Researchers indicate that women who experience uncomplicated pregnancies and labors with limited risk factors and evidence-based management have comparable maternal and neonatal outcomes whether or not they give birth in water."

This is why in some countries water births are more accessible than they are stateside. In the United Kingdom, in-hospital water births are more common than they are in the United States. It is estimated half of UK hospital maternity wards are equipped with pools to offer water birth and both the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives support the practice (provided mom is healthy and the pregnancy is uncomplicated).

However, the UK's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) official stance is complicated. It states that being in water during labor is good for pain relief, but also that "there is insufficient high‑quality evidence to either support or discourage giving birth in water."

For many experts, there is a distinction to make here: They may support laboring in the tub but not actually giving birth under the water. "Immersion in water during the first stage of labor may offer some benefits: It may shorten labor and is associated with a decreased use of epidurals," says Joseph R. Wax, chair of the ACOG Committee on Obstetric Practice that developed the 2016 ACOG Committee Opinion on the topic. "However, it is important to differentiate between laboring in water and delivering in water. There is no evidence to support delivering a baby in water has benefits to the baby."

The authors of the University of Michigan study suggest that even if there is a lack of evidence regarding benefits to the baby, the benefits to mothers should be a factor. Ruth Zielinski is the study's co-author and clinical associate professor of nursing who says more US facilities should offer water birth and have guidelines for implementing it, and she wants to see more studies on the satisfaction level of mothers who have water births.

Moms' satisfaction and opinions matter. It is her birth. And that's why it is time for more research and perhaps more birthing pools in hospitals.

Create a school-ready capsule wardrobe for your kids

Dress for success whether virtual learning or in the classroom!

Tina Meeks

Going "back to school" this year may be less of a literal statement than in years past—but there is just as much reason for your kids to celebrate moving on to new grades. Just like in every new school year, a big part of the fun is refreshing your kids' wardrobe with clothes that allow them to express themselves.

Even if finding back to school clothes this year doesn't include a trip to the mall, you can still make an event of it by shopping H&M's kids collection from your computer. Pull up another chair for your shopping buddy and get the cart started with these fave capsule wardrobe options we've already scouted.

Here are our favorite picks:

A t-shirt made for play

H&M t-shirt

Call them essentials, not basics. A graphic t-shirt aces the test when it comes to being perfect for school. And because your little student will probably want to wear something that expresses their personal style as often as possible, it's great to know the shirts can stand up to school time, playtime, downtime and everything in between!

$4.99

Dressed-up casual shorts for total comfort

H&M boy shorts

Whether pulling up a chair for a virtual meeting with the class or heading back to the school for in-person learning, some comfortable, yet stylish, shorts will help your kid focus on the real tasks at hand: learning—and having fun while doing it!

$19.99

Layers for when seasons change

H&M sweatshirt

When it comes to feeling comfortable at school, layers are the MVPs. Whether the AC is blasting or the day started off cool and is warming up quickly, having a unique sweatshirt to shed or add will help your kid look cool while staying warm.

$9.99

A bit of flair with distressed denim

H&M distressed jeans

A school staple for generations, denim is both classic and continually fashionable with updates like distressing and new wash colors. If you're shopping online for jeans this year, take note of H&M's generous return policy—your kids can try on the orders at home and return anything that doesn't fit without a trip to the store.

$24.99

A fashion statement piece

H&M girls skirt

What's better than expressing yourself through a stylish outfit when school is back in session? Still feeling perfectly comfortable and ready to tackle anything the day holds while looking so good. With so many fashion-forward looks available at budget-friendly prices, H&M's children's collection means every kid can find an outfit that speaks to them.

$14.99

Some comfy kicks

H&M boys shoes

A sure way to put a little pep in your child's step this year, cool and cozy shoes are a staple on all back-to-school shopping lists for good reason. (Plus, it's fun to compare them to last year's shoes to see how much your kid has grown!)

$19.99

Anything-but-basic blouses

H&M girls blouse

Whether in the classroom or showing up for a video call with the class, a styling blouse or button-down shirt is a great way for your student to comfortably dress up the day. Better yet? Style doesn't have to come at the expense of comfort with so many made-to-move tops designed just for kids.

$14.99

A shirt ready to go whatever the day holds

H&M boys shirt

With "going to school" meaning anything from showing up in the classroom to doing a virtual session, it's important to have clothes that are perfect for anything the day holds. A classic, cotton shirt with a fashion-forward design is a great way to keep your student feeling ready to start the year with an A+ attitude.

$9.99

This article was sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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