Preparing for Birth Australian Edition Partial Preview - Page 14
Water for Labour and Birth
Soaking in a warm bath tub or taking a shower during labour, called hydrotherapy, provides numerous
benefits, including significant relaxation, pain relief and decreased anxiety.
Labouring in Water
The potential benefits of labouring in a warm
water tub include:
Giving birth to a baby while submerged in water,
called a water birth, is a safe and beneficial
option for healthy women. Research shows
giving birth in water helps reduce tearing, is
gentler for babies and is highly satisfying for
mothers. Ideally, a large, comfortable tub is
used and water is maintained at or close to body
• Soothing environment (sound of running
water, more privacy and fewer interruptions)
• Ease of pressure on joints and tissues
(especially the back, hips and legs)
• Greater buoyancy and ease of movement
• Muscle relaxation and release of tension
• Reduction in stress hormones
Babies possess mechanisms which prevent
• Reduction in blood pressure
inhalation of water during birth. Babies are
• Shorter labour
gently brought to the surface where contact
desire for an epidural
with the cooler air stimulates breathing.
• Fewer interventions
• Increased overall satisfaction
If you choose a water birth, you
It is generally considered safe to labour in
will need to find a facility that has
water if your bag of waters has spontaneously
the experience, equipment, and
ruptured (SROM). Research has shown no
policies to support your choice.
increased risks from submersion in water if
Many hospitals have tubs for labour
SROM occurred within the last 24 hours.
but require you to get out for birth.
Use caution and common sense when using warm water in labour. Maintain a comfortable temperature of
36-38 degrees C, stay hydrated by drinking frequently, empty your bladder regularly, enter the water when
active labour is well established to prevent labour from slowing down and get out if you feel dizzy or faint.