Benefits of laboring in water

  • A positive birth experience: Women who have labored or given birth in water say they had less pain and a greater sense of control.
  • Less pain medication: Some studies show that women who labor in water need less pain medication and may have a shorter first stage of labor.
  • Relaxation: Floating in water can be soothing for many women. Your muscles don’t have to work as hard to support you. You can change position more easily. Being relaxed lowers stress hormones. This can give you a sense of reduced pain, and it may help your labor along.
  • Improved blood flow: Soaking in warm water up to your shoulders can reduce your blood pressure. Better blood flow may protect your baby against stress during labor.
  • Comfortable temperature: Being in water heated to your body temperature can help keep you from becoming chilled or overheated.

Possible benefits of giving birth in water

  • Shorter pushing stage: More research is needed, but some women report that being in water shortens the pushing stage of labor.
  • Fewer episiotomies: Giving birth in water may mean you’re less likely to need a surgical cut to enlarge the opening of your vagina. More research is needed, though.