Observing Position and Movements in Hydrotherapy: A Pilot Study
Article first published online: 22 JAN 2008
2008, AWHONN, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Volume 37, Issue 1, pages 116–122, January/February 2008
How to Cite
Stark, M. A., Rudell, B. and Haus, G. (2008), Observing Position and Movements in Hydrotherapy: A Pilot Study. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 37: 116–122. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2007.00212.x
- Issue published online: 22 JAN 2008
- Article first published online: 22 JAN 2008
- Accepted July 2007
- Labor pain;
- Normal birth;
- Water birth
Objective: To observe and describe the positions and movements women choose while immersed in water during the first stage of labor.
Design: Descriptive, observational pilot study.
Setting: A rural community hospital that provided hydrotherapy in labor.
Participants: Women (N = 7) who intended to use hydrotherapy in labor were recruited prenatally from a midwife-managed practice.
Measures: For 15 minutes of each hour during the first stage of labor, position and movements of the participants were observed and recorded on a laptop computer. The observational tool was developed for this study from a review of the literature and interviews with nursing experts; 435 observations were recorded. Women were free to choose when and how long to use hydrotherapy and had no restriction on their positions and movements.
Results: Only 3 of the 7 participants labored in the tub. Women demonstrated a greater range of positions and movements in the tub than in bed, both throughout labor and during late first-stage labor (7-10 cm of dilatation). Women had more contractions and made more rhythmic movements while in the tub than in bed.
Conclusions: Hydrotherapy may encourage upright positions and movements that facilitate labor progress and coping, helping women avoid unnecessary interventions.