I am torn on the issue of hot tubs. They’re soothing and all, but you’re climbing into a vat of what is essentially human soup, and humans are notoriously not something I want to put in my mouth. Whether it’s a poorly wiped bum, a dissolving scab, gonorrhea discharge, dandruff… well, you get the picture. Add to that the fact that warm water is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and that the staff who clean said hot tub may mor may not be among the most diligent on earth, and you suddenly create a rather disgusting image, at least in my mind.
I’ve often drawn this same comparison in my head with waterbirths. Having been present at a total of five births that did not require me squeezing out of anyone’s birth canal, I can say without any doubt in my mind that none of the things that come out of women during this process is something I wish to bathe in. And all that stuff, the feces, the blood, the sweat, all the stuff they have on their skin and hair, it’s all in this warm bathtub living, loving, and reproducing, just waiting for baby to come in for a swim.
Well, it turns out there’s some validity to my paranoia. And it was nicely expressed in an article on Science Based Medicine today entitled What’s in the water at waterbirth?by Amy Tuteur MD. It’s a little bit disturbing to read, honestly, knowing how commonplace the waterbirth is these days, and how it is held up as this incredibly natural and wonderful way to enjoy the birthing experience. So I suggest you read it for an informed opinion on the topic. It’s not about terrifying people into making any particular decision, just making sure that you balance your decision with the best information we have.
And I know many of you will be angry at me for this piece. There is a ridiculously big push amongst women to enjoy natural childbirth, which I have already commented on. I understand where this comes from, and I appreciate what you are trying to do, but your birth plan should be one you make with a full understanding of the implications. I’m not saying you can’t have your baby in poop soup, just that you ought to be aware of what you’re doing.