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Exploring the Evidence for Water Birth

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Water immersion is when the labouring woman remains in a pool of warm water during the first stage of labour but gets out before the baby is born. Water birth is when the mother remains in the water until the birth is complete and the baby is safely brought to the surface.

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Water births, or water immersion in labour, first became popular back in the 1970s when it was noticed that women relaxing in water gave birth more easily. Initial fears about the baby drowning were unfounded and water birth has been growing in popularity ever since. McIntosh (2011) suggests that the demand for water birth is now so great that it should be regarded as a core midwifery competence. When evaluating the research, it’s important to make a clear distinction between water immersion and water birth. Water immersion is when the labouring woman remains in a pool of warm water during the first stage of labour but gets out before the baby is born. Water birth is when the mother remains in the water until the birth is complete and the baby is safely brought to the surface.

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Meet the educator

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Anne Watkins
Anne is a freelance lecturer and medical writer at Mind Body Ink. She is a former midwife and nurse teacher with over 25 years’ experience working in the fields of healthcare, stress management and medical hypnosis. Her background includes working as a hospital midwife, Critical Care nurse, lecturer in Neonatal Intensive Care, and as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for a company making life support equipment. Anne has also studied many forms of complementary medicine and has extensive experience in the field of clinical hypnosis. She has a special interest in integrating complementary medicine into conventional healthcare settings and is currently an Associate Tutor, lecturing in Health Coaching and Medical Hypnosis at Exeter University in the UK. As a former Midwife, Anne has a natural passion for writing about fertility, pregnancy, birthing and baby care. Her recent publications include The Health Factor, Coach Yourself To Better Health and Positive Thinking For Kids. You can read more about her work at www.MindBodyInk.com.
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What do others think?

233 reviews by Ausmed Learners
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AL
Alison Lee
28 Jun 2021
Very interesting and informative article. Ive gained new knowledge . Learned the pos and cons of water immersion and water birth.
HW
Helen Willey
27 Jun 2021
Very informative re benefits of Water birth/water immersion for the labouring mother, as well as highlighting patients not appropriate for this birth.
Portrait of Klair Bayley
Klair Bayley
25 Jun 2021
Excellent reading to update and refresh knowledge
AM
Alice Mitchell
24 Jun 2021
Informative and to the point resource. Thank you.
LW
Lynee White
25 Jun 2021
A very beneficial inside in to water births.
BP
belinda pitt
24 May 2020
Ta
KG
Karen Greenwood
12 May 2022
Registered Midwife
This was a good outline of the current thinking regarding water birth. Outlining risk factors and the positive outcomes for mothers.
GT
Gregory Turner
28 Jun 2021
An interesting online article. The subject of water immersion/ births has been controversial in the past . Having had past involvement I found the women were all happy with the process.
RG
Renae Galvin
21 Jun 2021
This was an interesting read that water birthing and water immersion are different in the way birthing is completed. It is interesting that women are requiring less medication for pain relief and this method does not pose higher risks to uncomplicated pregnancies.
Portrait of Susanne Savona
Susanne Savona
30 Jun 2021
Basic, general, brief
4.3 / 5
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