Research results 

Natal and neonatal outcomes after stay and birth in water have been evaluated in two large studies during a four-year period. Researchers evaluated, respectively, 4.693 and 4.032 water deliveries and found no differences in comparison with a cohort of low-risk women who did not give birth in water (Alderdice, Renfrew & Marchant, 1995; Gilbert & Tookey, 1999).

The perinatal mortality among children born in water has been compared with children born in conventional delivery by women with low risk. Well over 4.000 waterborn children were followed during a two-year period. The child pediatricians in the study were asked to report all cases of fatalities and serious illness among the children examined. None of these could be assigned to water births — like the number of admissions were a bit lower than for children born by conventional delivery (Gilbert og Tookey 1999).

Other researchers have reported similar results (Burns, 2001; Lenstrup et al, 1987; Rush et al, 1996; & Waldenstroms et al, 1992).

In Canada it is being examined how women relaxing in water are experiencing pain and the result is being compared to the experiences of women giving birth in a conventional way. More than 80 % of the women offered a relaxation in warm water said that they would give birth in water again at a possible future pregnancy. (Rush et al, 1996).

Read further material

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  • Burn, E., Greenish, K. (1993). Water Birth. Pooling information. Nursing Times 89 (8): 47-9.
  • Eriksson, M., et al. (1996, Aug.). Warm tub bath during labor. A study of 1385 women with prelabor rupture of the membranes after 34 weeks of gestation. Acta Obstet et Gynecol Scand 75 (7): 642-644.
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  • Flade, Ines: Rundbrief Nummer 2. Einiges über die Wassergeburt.Garland, Dianne. Waterbirth: An Attitude to Care, Books for Midwives PR, UK, 2000 1 5947 7067 0
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  • Geytenbeek, Jenny. “Evidence of effective hydrotherapy”. In Physiotherapy. V. 88(9):514-529, 2002.
  • Gilbert, R., Tookey, P. (1999, Aug. 21). Perinatal mortality and morbidity among babies delivered in water:surveillance study and postal survey. BMJ 319(7208): 483-7.
  • Harding, R., Johnson, P., McClelland, M. (1978) Liquid sensitive laryngeal receptors in the developing sheep, cat, and monkey. J of Physiol 277: 409-22.
  • Harper, Barbara, RN. “Waterbirth Basics: From Newborn Breathing to Hospital Protocols”. In Midwifery Today Magazine, 2000.
  • Johnson, Paul. (1996). Birth under water – to breathe or not to breathe. B J of Obstet Gynecol 103 (3): 202-8.
  • Katz, V., et al. (1990, Feb.). A comparison of bed rest and immersion for treating the edema of pregnancy. Obstet and Gynecol 75 (2): 147-51
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  • Office of National Statistics. 2007. “Mortality Statistics: Childhood, infant and perinatal – Review of the Registrar General on deaths in England and Wales, 2005.” Series DH3 No. 38. London.
  • Ros, Andrea, Ricardo Felberbaum, Iris Jahnke, Klaus Diedrich, Peter Schmucker, and Michael Huppe. 2007 “Epidural anaethesia for labour: does it influence the mode of delivery?” In Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics. V. 275(4):269-274(6).
  • Royal College of Midwives. 2006. “Immersion in water during labour and birth.” Joint Position Paper no. 1. London, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Royal College of Midwives.
  • Rush, J., et al. (1996, Sept.). The effects of whirlpool baths in labor: a randomized, controlled trial. Birth 23 (3):136-43.
  • Schroeter, Ken. “Water Births: A Naked Emperor” Pediatrics, Vol. 114 No. 3, September 2004, pp. 855–858 (critical commentary in a mainstream medical journal)
  • Schuman, Andrew. 2006. “When parents-to-be ask about water birth.” In Modern Medicine.
  • Siegel, P. (1960). Does bath water enter the vagina? Journal of Obstet and Gynecol 15: 660-1.
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