Water Birth

Is Water Birth for you?

We are excited to offer women a new option for labor and delivery. Water birth can provide an excellent alternative birth option for healthy women who are expecting an uncomplicated birth. Warm water can provide a soothing and relaxing environment during labor. Many women report a sense of reduced pain with contractions while laboring in the water and your baby will experience a gentle transition during birth. Many studies have described the advantages of water immersion for the delivering mother, however, information concerning newborn outcomes has been limited.

What is the Water Birth Project?

Any woman who meets the eligibility requirements and chooses to deliver in the water will be a participant in our water birth project. We will be collecting anonymous data on all maternal and newborn outcomes. Data will be reviewed regularly to ensure that we are continuing to provide a safe and satisfying alternative birth option for women.

What do I need to do to participate in the water birth project?

Discuss the water birth option with your provider. You and your provider will meet to review the eligibility requirements. Once it is determined that you meet the eligibility requirements, you have the option to attend a water birth class. Click here for class dates and times. Participation in the water birth project will require a separate consent.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Healthy women at least 18 years old
  • Uncomplicated pregnancy
  • Single baby in head down position
  • No previous cesarean births
  • BMI less than 35

What are the risks to me or my baby?

The following are risks associated with water birth:

  • Possible undetected problem for you or your baby
  • Newborn taking water into lungs during delivery
  • Possible infection for you or your baby
  • Newborn bleeding from broken umbilical cord

Your participation in a water birth class will help you prepare for possible emergencies. To prevent your baby from taking water into your baby's lungs or breaking the umbilical cord, your provider will gently and quickly guide your baby above the water surface as it is born. You and your baby will be monitored for signs of infection. As with any birth, the obstetrical team will inform you when the risks of delivering in the tub will outweigh the benefits of delivery under water. At that time, you will be informed and moved to the labor bed or an operating room.

When is a Water Birth not possible?

You will not be eligible to participate in the water birth program if you have:

  • Any condition requiring  continuous monitoring of your baby
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Need for instrument delivery
  • Need for medicine to strengthen contractions
  • Meconium stained fluid
  • Fever or other evidence of infection
  • Request for epidural anesthesia
  • Any obstetric emergency
  • Problems with the water birth tub
  • Decision of the admitting provider
  • Trained water birth provider unavailable
  • Obesity

Who Should I contact if I would like more information?

Please contact your obstetric provider to determine if you are a candidate for a water birth and if your provider is willing to offer a water birth delivery. If you need more information about our water birth project, please contact Women's Health Administration at (608) 417-6990.