There has been many studies and much research undertaken into the benefits of using water for labor and birth, similarly there has been articles written on the subject of using water and hydrotherapy in labor and how it can help women with pain relief. One of the most significant papers was the 2007 NICE guidelines which recommended that women should be offered the use of water in labor and since then the National Health Service (UK) providers have been increasing their water birth provision and services in order to offer birth pools as part of their standard maternity care, specifically for pain relief in labor.
This has seen a step change in the UK maternity care waterbirth provision and we have seen a large increase in birthing pool installations in UK hospitals and birth centers. In the USA provision has to date been held back by the lack of a positive position on use of water for labor from ACOG. The 2017 ACOG paper “Approaches to Limit Intervention During Labor and Birth” stating that water immersion in labour may be beneficial for some women is another step in the right direction for the midwives in the USA. Many Midwives in the US have experience of water labor and/or water birth are awaren of the multiple positions women adopt in the water.
We know using water can help laboring mothers to adopt a more comfortable position if the birth pool they are using has sufficient space and the water depth is deep enough to allow the mother freedom of movement. Midwives observe that women move easily and spontaneously as they respond to their body’s signals because their buoyancy in water offers them the feeling of weightlessness.
The design of our birthing pools makes it possible for midwives to move easily around the rim of the birth pool on 3 sides and support mothers as they experiment with various labor positions.
The unique molded control and monitoring device on our birth pool has benefits to both mother and midwife, mothers can move around the birthing pool and use the control point to hold during contractions, we have also noticed that depending on the position women can hold the device with two hands and rest their head on their hands (see image1) This molded handle also helps midwives by offering them a monitoring point it allow midwives easy access so that they can monitor the baby and check the heartbeat without the midwife having too reach too far which can cause strain on the back. The cut out section is the perfect shape for her arm to extend into the pool onto the mother’s abdomen. (see image2)
Some positions women take when in a birthing pool:
Not all pools (often called tubs) sold as birthing pools have been designed from the ground up for labor and birth. For more information on our birthing pools, visit our website. Edel Immersys
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During these changing and challenging times I have spent the last few months sharing information about the use of water for labour and birth.
On 29th April, Oxford Brookes University in the UK published a piece titled “Coronavirus COVID-19: Supporting healthy pregnant women to safely give birth” that addresses the questions of birth setting and risks for water immersion in labor.