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In this article we will present you advantages and disadvantages of laboring in water.

Advantages of Laboring in Water


Lying in warm water provides feeling of relaxation, which can help during labor as tension affects rhythm of contractions. Relaxation helps women to feel more in control of their labor and to breathe calmly which in turn relieves the pain of contractions. In general, contractions during water birth are less stressful to both mother and a baby.


Buoyancy is very important in water birth as it supports a woman’s body by opposing gravity. This allows the woman to get into any position and easily move about. Consequently, a woman wastes less energy and does not get as much tired as during birthing on the back.


Unlike clinical rooms, the birthing pools provide feelings of privacy and comfort. Women are more relaxed and in control of their body while giving birth in water.

Pain Relief

Laboring in water provides excellent pain relief and reduces the need for pain relief medications such as an epidural or pethidine. However, women can still use mild pain relievers like gas and air.

Other Advantages

Women who labor in water usually have slightly shorter first stage of labor. This is because feeling of relaxation the birthing pool provides is associated with increased production of hormones that stimulate contractions and speed up labor. It is easier for a woman to push the baby while being in upright position which is not possible during conventional labor. Also, there is less need for episiotomy. All in all, birthing in water is positive experience for majority of women.

Disadvantages of Laboring in Water


Laboring in a birth pool carries a risk of infection because women may empty their bowels. However, the risk of infection in this case is not any higher than in case of birthing in air because babies can get exposed to maternal feces in air as well. Also, water birth facilites at hospitals are kept clean and hygienic.

Unpleasant Setting

Women may feel uncomfortable while the midwife sieves feces, blood clots and other debris out of the water. However, this should not concern women as midwives are trained and used to that.

Same Level of Pain

In many cases laboring in water does not provide significant pain relief. Because of this, some women decide to get out of the pool to receive pain relieving drugs.


If complications occur, women may have to leave the pool to be monitored and treated. Bleeding during labor, prolonged labor, increased blood pressure, problem with the baby’s heart beat or maconium in the water are some of the possible complications that require ending of laboring in water.

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