The Water's Fine: First Water Birth at Fridley's Unity Hospital

Klay Charles Richards, born Jan. 8, pioneered the unconventional birth method locally.

An Anoka couple is the first to welcome a newborn to the world in water at Unity Hospital in Fridley, according to a news release:

Klay Charles Richards’ birth went swimmingly, both literally and figuratively, as his mother Brittany Richards delivered her son in a comfortable, inflatable tub of warm water in their room at Unity Hospital.

“The water birth was amazing. It was relaxing and absolutely phenomenal. A nurse mentioned to me that Klay even did a summersault in the water with his eyes wide open before he was lifted out of the water and handed to me. So he did a little swimming before he came into this world,” said Brittany.

Klay was born on Jan. 8, 2013 at 12:08 a.m. Shortly after his delivery, Brittany and her husband Charles spent a relaxing, quiet and reflective moment with Klay in the tub. Along with his mother and father, Klay was welcomed by his big sister, five-year old Daisy.

“I have been around water my whole life and it is comforting to me, so I thought it would be nice to try to see if it would relieve some of the pain,” said Brittany. “The instant I hit the water my back labor stopped.”

Unity Hospital, which helps deliver 1,200 babies per year, began to offer water births as an option for women just this January of 2013. Water births can now be part of the birth experience for women in one of the north metro’s most comprehensive birth centers. At Unity, water births occur in a caring, home-like environment and are supported by an experienced birth center care team, specially trained in water births.

“It is so rewarding to me as a labor nurse that we are able to partner with Brittany and her family on the birth experience that they desired. More women are considering water births and the staff at Unity is very excited and proud to offer this option to women. Our philosophy and goal with every delivery is to provide the best of both worlds: fulfill the mother’s vision for her delivery while ensuring the safety of the mother and baby,” said Alice Timm, RN, Patient Care Manager, who is leading the water birth initiative at Unity Hospital.

Unity Hospital requires women to meet certain criteria to use the water birth option. Women are recommended to speak with their provider to find out if this can be an option for their birth plan.

The Richards family, who live in Anoka, chose to give birth at Unity specifically because of the water birth option, the recently remodeled Birth Center and Unity’s reputation for quality and compassionate care. Brittany, now at home with her new and healthy family of four, said “I would recommend it to anybody and everybody who can use the option.”

About Unity Hospital

Part of Allina Health, Unity Hospital is one of the north metro's premier community hospitals, offering leading technology, equipment, procedures, modern facilities, highly skilled professionals and a sense of community that drives the care we deliver each day.



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