Labour and birth in water

Want to watch this birth story? click here

The benefits of using water to reduce the pain of childbirth is well established and accepted in most care settings. The use of a shower or hot wet towels for pain relief is common practise, however women wanting to labour and give birth while immersed in warm water may find some caregivers and birth settings unprepared to provide that option. Thankfully water immersion in labour and water birth have gained acceptance in progressive Australian hospitals and birth centres and many midwives have gained the necessary skills and confidence to manage labour and birth in water.

The buoyancy of water enables a woman to move more easily than on land. This alleviates pain and optimises the progress of her labour (Burns & Kitzinger, 2001; Enkin et al, 2000). Water offers a labouring woman an environment where she can behave instinctively and feel in control. When a woman feels in control during childbirth she experiences a higher degree of emotional well-being postnatally (Green et al, 1990).

Women who wish to labour and/or birth while immersed in deep warm water know it is a simple way of assisting them to cope without the use of strong drugs. A reduction in the use of pain relieving drugs not only benefits the mother who is more alert and responsive after the birth, but the baby will also benefit considerably.

Women also know to labour in water increases their chances of giving birth naturally and normally with a minimum of interference or medical intervention. A prospective observational study in Switzerland found waterbirths had the lowest rate of analgesi use, the lowest episiotomy rate and the lowest incidence of 3rd and 4th degree tears of the perineum, as well as the lowest maternal blood loss. Babies born in water had the lowest rate of neonatal infection, and the average Apgar score at 5 minutes was significantly higher after waterbirths (Eberhard & Geissbuchler, 1999). Read More

The waterbirth of Belle

The following sequence of photographs is provided as AN ILLUSTRATION of a labour and birth in water.

It is in no way intended to be instructional. Any woman planning a home waterbirth must ALWAYS be attended by a qualified Midwife appropriately skilled and equipped to manage a labour and birth in water. View Here


WattisBook_18 cropWaterbirth – Myths and realities

A true story … A pregnant woman who attended a major hospital for antenatal care and a booking-in visit was told be a senior consultant obstetrician that she must abandon her plan to birth in water because her baby would drown. Although the woman knew the obstetrician’s advice was nonsensical, she found his assertion confronting and confusing and discussed the comment with her midwife caregiver the next day. Read More


Information about the birth of your baby’s placenta – the third stage of labour

Photo Credit:

The third stage of labour extends from the birth of the baby to the expulsion of the placenta and membranes. Modern midwifery and obstetric management of the third stage varies significantly between countries, states, domains and practitioners. Care given to the birthing woman and neonate has evolved from an eclectic combination of historical, anecdotal, philosophical and research-based factors. This stage of the birth is identified as a time of great potential hazard and caregivers must make choices about whether to take an active approach, an expectant (physiological approach), or a combination of both approaches. Read More