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ABSTRACT

The application of water externally to the body for therapeutic effects is a practice called hydrotherapy which dates back to ancient times. Immersing the body in water is an effective method of relieving pain, promoting muscular relaxation, and reducing psychological tension due to the hydrothermal and hydrokinetic properties of water. Using a warm bath to decrease the pain associated with labor and to enhance the process of a normal labor can be safely instituted by nurse-midwives. The bath should feel comfortably warm, cover the body completely, and may continue for as long as the woman is comfortable. Bathing in no way compromises the fetus and thus appears to be an ideal analgesic for use during labor.