Water Birth

Water Birth

About Water Birth

Water birth is childbirth that occurs in water. Proponents believe water birth results in a more relaxed, less painful experience that promotes a midwife-like model of care. Critics argue that the safety of water birth has not been scientifically proven and that a wide range of adverse neonatal outcomes have been documented including increased mother or child infections and the possibility of infant drowning. A 2009 Cochrane Review of water immersion in the first stages of labour found evidence of fewer epidurals and few adverse effects but insufficient information regarding giving birth in water. Parent, child and birthing organizations have produced statements both supporting and criticizing water birthing. Water birth offers perineal support for a birthing mother, which decreases the risk of tearing and reduces the use of episiotomy.