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Water Birth

Hypnobirthing Techniques during A Water Birth

What is a water birth?

A water birth is when maternal mother has her body submerged in water during the delivery of baby (baby is born underwater). The placenta can then be delivered either in the water or after Mum has got out of the water. Only a few of our hospitals have the facilities to accommodate a water birth however majority of our hospitals allow showers or water immersion during labour. Water needs to be kept between 32-38 degrees

What are the benefits of water birth/labouring in water?

  • natural pain relief

  • decreases the likelihood of requiring an epidural

  • decreases the need for narcotic pain relief

  • relaxing

  • buoyancy

  • lowers anxiety

  • better foetal positioning

  • less chance of perineal trauma

  • decreased use of episiotomies

  • decreased need for an emergent c-section

  • poised (hands-off) delivery

  • less chance of newborn requiring NICU (exact statistics are inconclusive due to the fact high risk births are generally declined for water birth)

  • decreased chance of hypothermia in newborn

What are the potential risks of water birth/labouring in water?

  • labour may slow down and contractions space out if maternal mother gets into the tub/pool too early

  • maternal mothers body temperature rising if the water is too hot

  • maternal mother may develop an infection

  • baby may develop an infection

  • baby may aspirate water

  • change to early development of gut microbiome

  • if a second person is in the water (during labour and/or delivery) can pass infections to the newborn (for example: herpes simplex virus)

  • if maternal mother has a bowel movement in the water and unknowingly has a parasite or a gastrointestinal virus, there is a risk the newborn may contract the parasite or virus

  • umbilical cord snap

If there are complications during or immediately following the birth of baby, staff will assist you out of the tub quickly and safely. If you are having a home birth and complications arise during labour or delivery, you may need to transfer to the hospital for maternal and foetal safety.

What complications would require me to get out of the tub?

  • foetal distress

  • long period between delivering the head and the body (body may be stuck)

  • nuchal cord (cord around baby's neck)

  • shoulder dystocia

  • maternal mother losing consciousness

  • postpartum haemorrhage

What pregnancy conditions/complications would disqualify me for a water birth (based on the King Edward Memorial criteria guidelines)?

  • pre-term birth (prior to 37 weeks)

  • multiples pregnancy

  • induction

  • younger than 17

  • older than 40

  • if baby passes meconium prior or during labour

  • preeclampsia/eclampsia

  • HELPP syndrome

  • diabetes

  • breech

  • continual monitoring

  • infection

  • autoimmune disorder

  • BMI score below 18 or over 35

  • cardiac issues

  • irritable bowel syndrome

  • drug or alcohol dependence (past or present)

  • endocrine disorders

  • gastric band/sleeve

  • genital mutilation

  • haematological conditions


  • untreated syphilis

  • active herpes

  • active tuberculosis

  • schizophrenia, bipolar or psychosis

  • mental health requiring medication (subject to obstetricians choice to approve or decline)

  • neurological conditions

  • renal disorder/failure

  • respiratory disease

  • skeletal issues (scoliosis ect.)

  • system/connective tissue issues

  • previous c-section

  • IUGR (lower than 10th percentile)

  • previous foetal death in utero

  • previous placental abruption

  • previous postpartum haemorrhage

  • previous postpartum psychosis

  • previous 4th degree tear

  • prior organ transplant

  • no anatomy ultrasound

  • no antenatal care before 24 weeks

  • placenta abruption, previa or accreta

*contact for King Edward Family Birth Centre criteria chart*

Which hospitals offer water birth in Western Australia?

  • King Edward - Family Birth Centre

  • Fiona Stanley Hospital

  • Armadale (subject to trained water birth staff on shift)

Water birth is also an option at home births under the community midwifery program or a private practising midwife.

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