9. Water Immersion for Labor and Birth
- Melissa D. Avery PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN
Published Online: 24 JUN 2013
Copyright © 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Supporting a Physiologic Approach to Pregnancy and Birth
How to Cite
Collins, M. R. and Dahlgren-Roemmich, D. M. (2013) Water Immersion for Labor and Birth, in Supporting a Physiologic Approach to Pregnancy and Birth (ed M. D. Avery), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118783320.ch9
- Published Online: 24 JUN 2013
- Published Print: 3 JUN 2013
Print ISBN: 9780470962862
Online ISBN: 9781118783320
- theoretical risks;
- water birth;
- water immersion
This chapter provides a brief history of water birth, reviews the research evidence to support its use, and provides practical guidance and suggestions for those who wish to begin offering this choice to women in their birthing units. The chapter describes five basic principles that underlie the positive physiologic effects of immersion in warm water: buoyancy, specific gravity and density, hydrostatic pressure, specific heat, and thermal effect. Infection, hemorrhage, emboli, and reduced strength of uterine contractions are considered theoretical risks because quality research has not demonstrated their occurrence as a result of water immersion and/or water birth. The chapter illustrates, through case studies, that water immersion and water birth are safe options that clinicians can offer to laboring women.