Water immersion during birth
Water immersion during labour has a long history and many women are encouraged to take advantage of a bath or pool during this time. Some also choose to deliver while still in the water and have a ‘water birth’. There is certainly a worldwide trend to encourage the use of water during childbirth with many professional bodies supporting its use.
Advantages include allowing the mother to move freely and easily into positions that are both more comfortable and reduce fatigue, help create a relaxed atmosphere and allow the mother to feel more in control of this important event. Research has shown a reduction in the need for pain relief and the first stage of labour is marginally shorter. Mothers often ask whether the chance of having a tear is less with a water birth but this has still to be proven – though anecdotally it appears to help.