Water Birth - Natural Child Birth in Argentina


Aug 4, 2009
I live in the Salta province (Cafayate) and am 13 weeks pregnant. I'd really like to do a water birth or more natural child birth but the doctors I've been to tell me it doesn't exist here. Most schedule a c-section. Anyone have experience with this or any ideas for a mid-wife that would have experience? Thanks!
Hello, I had a homebirth here in Argentina, in Buenos Aires in Oct 2008. I found the same sort of situation with doctors here as well. So I set out on a search online for midwives and read a very informative book about childbirth and natural childbirth in Argentina called PARIR EN LIBERTAD by a midwife by the name of Raquel Schallman. I found a great partera (midwife) by the name of Sandra LaPorta, who in fact worked with Raquel Schallman, who is now retired as far as I know. I decided on a homebirth because most hospitals have restrictions and regulations that do not allow natural childbirth practices (for example, you must give birth be on a bed, have an IV, you may not have your own personal midwife assist you, etc.) and they are not very privy to the idea to begin with, so you will be fighting a battle as you give birth. There are a few midwives here who assist homebirths and I know mine had travelled to another province in the past to assist a home birth where there were no midwives who did. You are closer to Cordoba and I understand that homebirths there are fairly common there actually, so if there is not a midwife who assists homebirths in your area you may be able to locate a partera who will be willing to travel out your way. http://www.serparteras.com.ar/somos.php This is the link to the site for my midwife and group of others she works with, they may be able to give you a lead. Good luck!
Agnes, thank you so much for this information! I'm sure you understand how hard it is to figure all of this out! I appreciate it, gives me a starting point. Thanks!
From what I´ve heard recently, water births are being shunned by doctors in BA, because of the complicactions and risks of infection to the baby and/or mother. It´s that even when starting off with clean water, it can become quite contaminacted by the blood. But also, during labor, mothers tend to urinate and even defecate, so all this gets mixed up at the worst possible moment, when the baby may swallow some water.
Just passing along what I´ve been told. Good luck anyway, but be careful!!
Modern medicine shouldn't trump what our bodies were designed, by nature, to do. The things that happen in hospitals during childbirth make me sick and sad for the state of our values in the industrialized world.

I would much rather my child be born surrounded by my blood, sweat, tears and excrement (which I think technically is impossible for a baby to swallow since he's not yet breathing on his own and still has lungs filled with fluid) than cut out of my belly instead of getting the benefit of all that good bacteria in the canal, taken from me instead of being placed immediately on my chest, given a series of shots and eye drops and other unecessary procedures that 'modern' childbirth in a hospital consists of (which, by the way, is a system mostly designed by men in the 1950s and barely revisited since then). Luckily I would be too drugged to remember any of these first traumatic moments of my child's life.

Cafayate and all other women who chose natural childbirth - I commend you! Don't let anyone talk you out of it, it is absolutely best for you and the baby.

And, in an effort to nip any 'how dare you say bad things about modern medicine' replies in the bud, I am more than aware that sometimes things go wrong in childbirth and a hospital and a doctor's care is necessary. But childbirth is possibly the one area of medicine that should take a REACTIVE approach. We should not assume that things will go wrong so let's just schedule a C-section and be done with it, which oh by the way is much more convenient for the doctor's schedule.
My sister's an MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) -- she sees the extreme of complicated, yes it's possible for the baby to get fecal matter into it's mouth, eyes etc. It's also possible for the fecal matter to cross the placenta and cause problems in the mother. One phone call post-call from my sister is like 100x more in detail what can go wrong in childbirth than what it has to say in "What to Expect When You're Expecting".

Scheduled C-Sections are going over the top for sure. However, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, and while I know that the midwife system is pretty established now in North America, it seems to be a new trend in Argentina and I'd be very careful who you go with.

Also, since the midwife idea is pretty recent here, I would definitely make sure to go for your ultrasounds etc. Assuming your pregnancy is normal with no complications, go for it. A good midwife should be able to coach you through without much tearing. An inexperienced one will not. And I'm not really sure what they carry in their kits here, if they'd be able to deal with any suturing etc. If they have oxygen etc... check it all out before you choose your midwife. 2 mins is still too far from the hospital if something goes wrong.

Were I going to go for midwife, I'd still go for midwife IN the hospital if that were an option. It is becoming so in North America, but it's far off here I believe.

EliA -- there is a reason why maternal deaths have dropped so much over the years, I do think that for normal healthy pregnancies there's too much medical intervention, but for any woman over 35, and I would even say over 30, a woman overweight, a woman with health issues, or a woman with multiple births, there is good reason to go to a hospital. When things go wrong during labour, they go wrong very quickly, and they can also go wrong even a few days after labour -- a woman can be hemorrhaging internally and a midwife is not be equipped to deal with it.

If any of you got on the phone with my sister you'd understand there is good reason for hospital births -- while most of her cases are women that have had extreme complications (diabetes, cancer, multiple organ failure -- remember she does see the extreme, not the normal deliveries) -- she does have cases go through her hands of perfectly healthy women that have something go wrong during labour and the results aren't good -- 4 of her recent cases invlolved perfectly healthy women that started out their labour with a midwife and ended up in the hospital, due to mistakes by the midwives.

I'm fine with people choosing midwives, just really check them out, full interview, ask for references and talk to previous clients to hear about their experiences, ask how many deliveries they have done, how often they are working, what are some of the more difficult situations they've been in, what do they carry in their kit, do they have a relationship with any particular hospital etc etc etc.

I have more confidence in the midwife system at home than here as well, simply because here they love their 30% caesarian section rates and I don't know how midwifes are getting proper training in a system that has gone sooooo far into medical approach to pregnancy and delivery.

Every woman should have the option to do what they like, just make sure you're making a really informed choice, especially in this country which really hasn't quite embraced the midwife option yet.
The mid-wife I worked with has been practicing for over 20 years at least and assisting homebirths for many years. She works with several hospitals as well. I wouldn't say mid-wifery is a new trend, per se, being that there have always been trained mid-wives in hospitals. But yes, perhaps homebirths and natural births are a fairly new trend. Syngirl is right about being suspect of the training due to the high caesarian section rates, so yes choose your midwife carefully.

Homebirths - or even natural childbirth- are certainly not for everyone and at least my mid-wife was very careful about acertaining that I was a proper candidate. I did continue going to an obstetrician through my insurance until I gave birth; as did all the other women she worked with. It's modern day midwifery, they work in conjuction with medical technology. Naturally, the protocol is in the case that anything should go wrong during the birth, you will immediatelly be transferred to a hospital.

Another thing: I also had two midwives assist my homebirth, the midwife I worked with never assists homebirths alone- she always works with another professional. There was also a neoneotologist who came immediately following the birth as well. There was also an option to have a obstetrician present if you so like.

I believe there is a lot of misinformation about childbirth in general and it has become so medicalized. People think it is insane to have a baby outside a hospital. Read up on it and you will be surprised to find that homebirths are safer in fact when dealing with normal, healthy pregnancies. Hospital interventions that interfer with the natural childbirth process can cause complications and often times do more harm than good, according to studies. But you can always opt for a natural childbirth in hospital as well (IF you can find a hospital that will work with you). You have options, I hope you find one that works best for you! I personally, had a great experience and wouldn't change a thing. Good Luck and you are welcome!
Hello lovely ladies...

I noticed that most of the posts were from a few years ago so I was just wondering if any of you have heard any updates about natural water births in Argentina?

Many thanks for your advice,
Hi Karlee,

Actually, I am working with an obstetrician who used to be among the only doctors in Argentina who performed water births (Dr. Gustavo Katz), but apparently the legal system did not support the practice at all and it became a legal headache that he couldn't support. I don't think that anybody legally does it anymore, but if you do some asking around I'm sure you can get some information on a home birth if you want to pursue that route. Look up parto humanizado for starters (here's one website: http://www.partohumanizado.com.ar/) Best of luck to you!
You can contact Olga Mauro, she does home births for those who don't want to be under a doctor, and also works with a pro home birth ob-gyn Dr. Lodeiro-Martinez. Her email is [email protected]