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Childbirth: Laboring in Water and Water Delivery

Topic Overview

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 the delivery of a baby while in a tub or pool of warm water. More research is needed to find out the benefits and risks to delivering in water.

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

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Abnormal labor. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 464–489. 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.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised November 2, 2011

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