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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, 2

  • Reduce labor pain.
  • Reduce the use of or need for pain medicine.
  • Lower the mother's blood pressure.

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. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not recommend giving birth in water, because it has not been studied enough to see if it is safe for the baby and mother.3

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, Burns E (2009). Immersion in water in labour and birth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2).
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2014). Immersion in water during labor and delivery. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 594. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 123(4): 912–915.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of June 4, 2014

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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