First Infant Born in CDH Birthing Tub

NORTHAMPTON — Becky Jacobsen of West Springfield became the first expectant mother to deliver her infant in the Cooley Dickinson Hospital Childbirth Center’s new birthing tub on Feb 7.

Jacobsen, attended by her husband, Jonathan, gave birth to their son, Gage Jacobsen. The Jacobsens said they chose to have their baby at Cooley Dickinson because they had heard good feedback from other parents at the Center for Midwifery Care and because they were also excited about the hospital’s new birthing tub.

When Jacobsen learned a birthing tub was on the way, she stayed in contact with the hospital hoping the tub would be ready for her labor. She received a call from the Childbirth Center on Feb. 5 that the tub was ready; that evening, she went into labor. She said Gage was waiting for the tub.

The birthing tub helps to soothe a woman in active labor, according to midwife Annie Heath, who assisted at the birth along with Dr. Tucker Kueny, medical director of the Center for Midwifery Care.

When an expectant mother in active labor enters the water, she experiences weightlessness, with the hydrostatic pressure supporting her body. The mother can move about freely in the water and can assume any position that she finds comfortable. The heat of the water helps relax the muscles and allows the laboring mother to feel more relaxed and comfortable during her labor.

Jacobsen was not able to choose a natural birth experience with her first child, Kyan, now 2, who was also born at Cooley Dickinson. They loved the experience, but she had to have an epidural.  So it was important to her to try the birthing tub. She said she felt the tub would provide her with an easy labor experience and would be less traumatic to her infant. “Gage was very calm when he was born,” she said.

The tub experience was extremely helpful in making it possible for Jacobsen to avoid an epidural. Heath used the warm spray on pressure points, such as her back and stomach, to help mitigate painful contractions. Gage was born underwater. “It was great,” Jacobsen said. “He was very calm. They just put him into my arms. He nursed right away.” This helped with the bonding between mom and baby.

For more information on the Center for Midwifery Care, call (413) 584-5983.

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