Water birth, home birth, birth under water, waterbirth, birth pool, water temperature.

Water Birth | Hydrotherapy in Labor

Midwives and other care providers have used hydrotherapy for hundreds of years, and many people feel an instinctive attraction to the use of water for labor and/or birth. We now have scientific evidence that suggests there are real benefits to choosing to labor and birth in water.


Water can calm the senses, ease tension, and provide a sense of security – all beneficial effects to take advantage of during labor. In addition, parents who choose to birth in water report higher levels of satisfaction with their births and over 80% say they would choose to birth in the water again (Evidence Based Birth). 

Benefits & Risks

Possible Benefits

• Possibly lower rates of tearing

• Less pain, and fewer requests for pain medication

• Shorter first stage of labor
• Freedom of movement in labor
• Relief from supporting the body’s full

weight, allowing total relaxation
• Sense of safety and relaxation provided

by the water
• Reduction in medical interventions
• Redistribution of body fluids, reducing

swelling and blood pressure

Possible Risks

• Possible difficulty maneuvering out of the tub in emergent situations.

• Risk of infant infection if birth occurs in water from contaminated water source.

• If baby has severely low oxygen levels, gasping under water may occur (this will not happen if the cord and placenta are fully functioning and providing oxygen).

Supplies Needed

• Large bathtub or birth pool

• Lead-free hose to fill the pool and drain the pool

• Air pump to fill pool

• Siphon pump to empty pool

• Pool liner (if using rented pool or desiring to re-use pool in the future).

• Tarp or plastic sheet to protect the floors under tub.

• 10-15 towels (trust us, you need a lot)

•  Hot water tank that refills quickly and/or can be turned up very hot. 

• Hose adapter if hose does not attach easily to your sink or washer pipes.