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Childbirth: Labouring in Water and Water Delivery

Topic Overview

Labouring in water

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

  • Reduce labour 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. More research is needed to find out the benefits and risks to delivering in water.

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



  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).


Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology