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Adventist Hinsdale Hospital now offering water birth
Hinsdale – Leading up to the birth of her son Roscoe, Abbi Togtman had done a lot of reading about the different options available to mothers in labor.

One of those options in particular, water birth, intrigued her. The Oak Park resident was intent on going through natural child birth, and she had heard water birth helped to ease the pain of labor and avoid other birthing issues.

“I was really nervous about tearing and having stitches,” Togtman said. “Water birth seemed like a more gentle way of approaching everything.”

Togtman connected with OMG Women’s Healthcare, which helped her to arrange for a water birth at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. On May 26, Togtman was the first mother to complete a water birth at the hospital. Since starting to offer the service two months ago, the hospital has had eight water births, all of them going smoothly.

The water definitely helped her manage her labor pains, Togtman said. She became so relaxed while having contractions that she had to get out of the water, because her contractions had slowed. When it came time to push, she returned to the tub, which helped to calm her in the final moments of labor.

“My husband was behind me holding me up,” Togtman said. “With each push, I was able to push up on the side of the tub with my feet so that I’d be floating. It felt much better than in the bed, where gravity is working against you.”

Adventist Hinsdale Hospital considered water birth many years ago, but decided initially to further study research related to the method as it was used, said BettySue Netzel, nursing director for Women and Children’s Services at the hospital. Two midwife groups working with the hospital – OMG and West Suburban Women’s Health – asked that the hospital reevaluate this delivery option.

After studying water birth results conducted internationally, the hospital agreed to offer the service. Fortunately, tubs that some mothers opt to use during the labor process for relaxation were already in place in three of the hospital’s labor and delivery rooms. So the transition did not prove too difficult.

“We want to support those patients in our community who want this type of birth,” Netzel said.

Water immersion provides women in labor with another tool to help with their pain management, said Beth Helme-Smith, a certified midwife with OMG Women’s Healthcare.

“It’s a much calmer environment for a baby to be born into and a much gentler transition for the baby,” Helme-Smith said. “Babies are calmer, they don’t cry as quickly and they’re more peaceful during the whole birthing process.”

Much like when someone injures a muscle and is able to soothe themselves in a warm bath, water birth can help a mother relax while in labor, said Patricia Schneider, certified nurse midwife with West Suburban Women’s Health.

“They still have contractions, but the sensation or perception of pain is diminished,” Schneider said. “The warmth soothes the whole body and really promotes a mother’s ability to handle the pain.”

If she were to attempt natural child birth again, Togtman said she would try a water birth. Her pain was managed well, she said, and the tearing after giving birth was minimal.

And throughout her labor, Togtman said she was impressed by how well her midwife worked with hospital staff.

“It seemed like everyone was on the same page, and we were really impressed by the hospital,” she said. “The nurses were awesome and totally supportive of what we were doing. And our midwives were great.”

The hospital’s nurses have been phenomenal in supporting water births, Schneider said.

“The nurses in labor and delivery have been stupendous and, being excited about it, they’ve really tried to facilitate women getting into the water,” Schneider said.

The whole water birth process at the hospital has worked out well, Helme-Smith said.

“What we’re seeing with the patients, it’s working out just beautifully for us at this time,” she said. “It’s definitely a safe option.”

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Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.

Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals.

Media contact: Chris LaFortune, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, christopher.lafortune@ahss.org; (630) 856-2354.