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ACOG Releases Opinion on Waterbirths

What does it mean to have a waterbirth? Is it safe for my baby? How is it different from hydrotherapy in labor?

Hydrotherapy is when a laboring woman relaxes in a tub of warm water during her labor. Waterbirth is an optional component to hydrotherapy.  Instead of getting out of the tub to deliver the baby, the woman who has chosen waterbirth delivers the baby while her lower body is submerged.  The baby is then brought to the surface so respirations can begin.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) just released an opinion stating that based on insufficient data regarding the relative benefits and risks of immersion in water during the second stage of labor and delivery, birth should occur on land, not in water.

In addition, a woman who requests to give birth while submerged in water should be informed that the maternal and perinatal benefits and risks of this choice have not been studied sufficiently to either support or discourage her request.

Fox News reported on the ACOG opinion stated that laboring in water (hydrotherapy) may help ease pain, lower the need for anesthesia and potentially speed up the first stage of labor, but water deliveries (waterbirth) have no proven benefits for mothers and may lead to serious health problems for babies.

Our Certified Nurse Midwife Jana Flesher says, “Hydrotherapy can be very helpful for getting through active labor, reducing the need for epidurals and IV pain medication.”

At Southdale ObGyn, we understand that women want options for the delivery of their baby. Our Certified Nurse Midwives and ObGyn Physicians are here to provide information and guide you towards the best decisions for you and your baby.