Skip to Content

Childbirth: Laboring in Water and Water Delivery

Topic Overview

Laboring in water

Some hospitals and birthing centers offer tubs or whirlpools for labor. If yours does, talk to your doctor or midwife about laboring in water. The warm water supports your body. It also helps you to relax. For many women, laboring in water has been proved to:footnote 1, footnote 2

  • Reduce labor pain.
  • Reduce the use of or need for pain medicine.
  • Lower the mother's blood pressure.

Sometime before you are ready to push your baby out, you will have help getting out of the tub.

Delivering in water

A water birth is the delivery of a baby while in a tub or pool of warm water. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not recommend giving birth in water. That's because this type of birth has not been studied enough to see if it is safe for the baby and mother.footnote 3

If you are thinking of a water birth, discuss it with your doctor or midwife.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Abnormal labor. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 464-489. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Cluett ER, Burns E (2009). Immersion in water in labour and birth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2).
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2016). Immersion in water during labor and delivery. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 679. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 128(5): 1198-1199. DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001765. Accessed March 27, 2017.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology

Current as ofNovember 21, 2017

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Health Library