Have you ever gotten into a hot bath or jacuzzi after a vigorous workout? If you have, you probably remember how the water soothed your aching muscles and melted away any tension that you felt. Giving birth is a lot like a vigorous workout, and the pain (sometimes) experienced in both is the result of your healthy muscles working hard! Numerous studies have demonstrated that mothers who labor in water report greater satisfaction, feel less pain, and have a shorter first stage of labor and less episiotomies. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives (RCOG/RCM) issued a statement proclaiming that they support laboring in water for healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies, and that “complications are seemingly rare.”
Benefits of Waterbirth for Mothers (Evidence Based Birth)
- Higher rates of intact perineum
- Lower rates of 3rd and 4th degree tears
- Less blood loss or no difference in blood loss
- Less use of pain medication
- Higher levels of satisfaction
Benefits & Risks of Waterbirth for Babies (Evidence Based Birth)
Researchers have found that when comparing babies born on land versus in the water, there is:
- No difference in Apgar scores
- No difference in newborn in-fection rates (very rare)
- No differences in NICU admis-sion rates
- Umbilical cord tears are rare (2.4 per 1,000 waterbirths)
- No increase in mortality rates
Midwife’s Perspective – Ash Johnsdottir, CPM LDM
I think waterbirth and water during labor are great options for low risk women receiving midwifery care in Oregon. Time after time, I’ve seen the relief offered by water renew a mother’s strength in labor.
Waterbirth vs. Just Laboring in the Water
Many women I’ve worked with have chosen to labor in the water, and then instinctively moved out before the birth of their baby and given birth outside of the tub. Waterbirth is optional, and not necessary to experience the great benefits of laboring in the water. Either way, I am proud to offer this service to my clients!
Looking for a waterbirth in Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley or have any other questions?
Contact me at (541) 908-9188 or send a message we’ll talk about it!
American College of Nurse Midwives. (2014). “Position statement: Hydrotherapy during labor and birth.”
Cluett et al (2004). Immersion in water in pregnancy, labour, and birth. Birth, 31, 317.
Nutter, E., S. Meyer, et al. (2014). “Waterbirth: an integrative analysis of peer-reviewed literature.” J Midwifery Womens Health 59(3): 286-319.
R. Redwood (1999). Caring control methodological issues in a discourse analysis of waterbirth texts. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 29.
Theoni et al (2005). Review of 1600 waterbirths: Does water birth increase the risk of neonatal infection? The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, 17, 357-361.