Childbirth: Laboring in Water and Water Delivery

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Topic Overview

Laboring in water

Some hospitals and birthing centers offer tubs or whirlpools for laboring. If yours does, talk to your health professional about laboring in water. The warm water supports your body and 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.

Some time 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, because it 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



  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 (2014). Immersion in water during labor and delivery. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 594. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 123(4): 912–915.


ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMay 22, 2015