Laboring in water

Laboring in water

Some hospitals and birthing centers offer tubs or whirlpools for laboring. If yours does, talk to your health professional about laboring in water. The warm water supports your body and helps you to relax. For many women, laboring in water has been proved to:1

  • Reduce labor pain.
  • Reduce the use of or need for pain medicine.
  • Lower the mother's blood pressure.
  • Help some women move along a slow labor and avoid a need for forceps, vacuum, or cesarean delivery.2

Some time before you are ready to push your baby out, you will have help getting out of the tub.

Delivering in water

A water birth is described as a "gentle birth" for the mother and baby. There is limited experience with this technique in the American medical community, and few studies have been done.

If you are thinking of a water birth, discuss it with your doctor or nurse-midwife.

Citations

  1. Cunningham FG, et al. (2005). Dystocia: Abnormal labor. In Williams Obstetrics, 22nd ed., pp. 495–524. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Cluett ER, et al. (2004). Randomised controlled trial of labouring in water compared with standard of augmentation for management of dystocia in first stage of labour. BMJ, 328(7435): 314–320.

Last Updated: December 4, 2009

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