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Why were they sent to boil water?

Ob/Gyn   (5,160 Views | 11 Replies)
by RNinCanada RNinCanada (New) New

815 Profile Views; 3 Posts

This may be an odd question, but my co-workers and I have come up with some different answers:

Many years ago, when midwives and elders came to the house to deliver babies, the husband was usually sent to boil water. What was the water used for?

Sterile technique?

To keep him busy?

For tea?

Just an odd question. :)

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allevi has 8 years experience.

115 Posts; 4,316 Profile Views

In a book I read The Midwife, she would use the warm water to massage the perineum, to stretch it out to avoid any tearing of the perineum.

I have seen physicians use sterile water to massage the perineum also.

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63 Posts; 2,120 Profile Views

I read once it was to keep the husband busy so the midwives could do their job, I think it's probably to massage the perineum like the previous person said.

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26 Posts; 1,178 Profile Views

I've always heard it was to keep the husband busy and keep him out of the way...also to give him a "job" so he'll feel he's doing something (anything) to help while his wife is laboring. Guess it beats having him pace around the room watching every move the mid-wife is making....:rolleyes:

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1,245 Posts; 12,010 Profile Views

Most of the early medicinals were boiled or steeped as tea, they could have been wanting to make their hands clean as well, and of course keeping a husband busy is always helpful :)

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226 Posts; 4,737 Profile Views

Why not all the above? If plenty of water was boiled, they would have enough to sterilize equipment, have water for perineal massage, and make tea... All the while keeping daddy busy!

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70 Posts; 2,311 Profile Views

I would have loved if my spouse was sent on this type of errand while I was laboring- he drove me crazy!

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86 Posts; 2,534 Profile Views

It was to sterilize instruments. Also most homes did not have running warm water so it had to be heated.

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mother/babyRN has 27 years experience as a RN and specializes in cardiac, diabetes, OB/GYN.

11 Articles; 1,587 Posts; 14,050 Profile Views

Well, it is kind of like this in my opinion. Beyond the need to sterilize ( if they knew that way back when), it also kept the dad busy..Men have a need to fix things and they can't fix labor or pain to their loved ones, so I tell them that, and then show them how the monitor works ( in relation to the large squares representing a minute of time, etc) and allow them to get the pt to the bathroom and hook the color coded cables back in. I let them know that too, so they are aware that we know they probably need to keep busy when things get intense. From boiling water to education. Thats a fair advance in progress! :)

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SmilingBluEyes has 20 years experience.

2 Followers; 19,599 Posts; 66,324 Profile Views

i AGREE with mother/baby. The support people often feel powerless and helpless, in the face of watching a loved one labor. I quite often will give them tasks or things to do to help so they don't feel left out or like a 5th wheel. In the end, I am only helping myself. It's common for me to introduce them to the monitors, machinery, and the kitchen. I give THEM the option of getting the ice chips and popcicles, if they choose, as well as ask them to convey information to family members as they wait. This is usually helpful and they seem to relax measureably when they see they can help in some small way. It' s not just MEN who need this, either, but well-meaning moms, mothers-in-law and friends. Whoever is involved in supporting the laboring mom, gets brought "in the loop" as helper.

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350 Posts; 5,141 Profile Views

Since sterility in vaginal deliveries is sort of a moot point,

I often have the dads open the bottle of sterile water and pour it into the sterile basin and tell them it is the modern equivelent of "boiling water" for the delivery! They get quite a chuckle out of this!

(and no our docs never use the sterile basin during the delivery...it usually gets used for post-delivery cleanup!)

Hugs

Haze

"Be who you are and say what you feel,

becuase those who matter don't mind,

and those that mind don't matter." Dr Seuss

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115 Posts; 2,233 Profile Views

We use sterile water from the warmer to cleanse the perineum in combination with an antiseptic cleanser right before delivery. We have 2 sterile basins, one small and one large. The small one is used for the placenta and the larger one is for the dirty instruments. Go figure.

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