WATER IMMERSION AND THE EFFECT ON LABOR

Authors

  • Mavis N. Schorn CNM, MS,

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    • Mavis N. Schorn received her B.S.N. degree in 1981 from the University of Texas in Austin, her M.S. degree in 1987 from Texas Woman's University in Houston, and her nurse-midwifery education from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1990. Currently, she is an instructor in clinical obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and practices midwifery at the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston, Texas.

  • Janice L. McAllister CNM, MA,

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    • Janice L. McAllister received her B.S.N. from University of the State of New York, in 1987, her M.A. in education from Michigan State University in 1980, and her nurse-midwifery education from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1990. Currently, she is practicing nurse-midwifery at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Michigan.

  • Jorge D. Blanco MD

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    • Jorge D. Blanco received his B.A. degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1971, received his M.D. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1975, and completed a residency in obstetrics–gynecology and a maternal–fetal medicine fellowship at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio in 1979 and 1981, respectively. Currently, he is the John T. Armstrong Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He is the chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston, Texas.


Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5656 Kelley, Houston, TX 77026.

ABSTRACT

The use of warm water immersion (WI) by women for relaxation during labor is being used around the world; however, there is little available research as to the effects of WI. We conducted this prospective, randomized, and controlled study to determine the safety and effect of WI on the woman in labor. We studied 93 subjects between 36 and 41 weeks' gestation, in active labor, with intact membranes, and without major medical or obstetric complications. Subjects in the WI group utilized a tub in labor along with other pain relief measures such as ambulation, rest, showers, and analgesics. Subjects in the no-WI group could use all available methods of pain relief except WI. Water immersion did not alter the rate of cervical dilation, change the contraction pattern, change the length of labor, or alter the use of analgesia. The rates of chorloamnionitis and endometritis were not allered by WI. Although we did not demonstrate an improvement in progression of labor by WI, there was no evidence of increased maternal, neonatal, or infectious morbidity.

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