9. Water Immersion for Labor and Birth

  1. Melissa D. Avery PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN
  1. Michelle R. Collins and
  2. Dawn M. Dahlgren-Roemmich

Published Online: 24 JUN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118783320.ch9

Supporting a Physiologic Approach to Pregnancy and Birth

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

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 JUN 2013
  2. Published Print: 3 JUN 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470962862

Online ISBN: 9781118783320

SEARCH

Keywords:

  • labor;
  • theoretical risks;
  • water birth;
  • water immersion

Summary

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.