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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 labor. If yours does, talk to your doctor or midwife about laboring in water. The warm water supports your body. It also helps you to relax. For many women, laboring in water has been proved to:footnote 1, footnote 2

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

Sometime 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. That's because this type of birth has not been studied enough to see if it is safe for the baby and mother.footnote 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 (2016). Immersion in water during labor and delivery. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 679. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 128(5): 1198–1199. DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001765. Accessed March 27, 2017.

Credits

Current as of: October 8, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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