How valid are the common concerns raised against water birth? A focused review of the literature

Young, Kate and Kruske, Sue (2013) How valid are the common concerns raised against water birth? A focused review of the literature. Women and Birth, 26 2: 105-109. doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2012.10.006


Author Young, Kate
Kruske, Sue
Title How valid are the common concerns raised against water birth? A focused review of the literature
Journal name Women and Birth   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1871-5192
1878-1799
Publication date 2013-06-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.wombi.2012.10.006
Volume 26
Issue 2
Start page 105
End page 109
Total pages 5
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Women have birthed in water for many years, with researchers finding a number of benefits for mother and baby. Despite these benefits, many health institutions and clinicians are hesitant to support women's access to water immersion in birth for a number of reasons. As such, this paper aimed to (1) select five common concerns raised against water birth and (2) examine whether research supports these concerns as being evidence-based.

Method: A literature review was conducted to (1) select the concerns for review and to (2) review each selected concern as to whether they were supported by the current evidence. A recent review of women's access to, and uptake of, water immersion in Queensland, Australia, was also used to determine the concerns for review in order to better capture concerns relevant to Australian practice.

Findings: Three clinical concerns were selected for review: water aspiration, neonatal and maternal infection, and neonatal and maternal thermo-regulation; and two concerns around the practice of water birth were selected: skills and education of workforce, and emergency procedures in case of maternal collapse. The three clinical concerns were not found to be supported by the available evidence and the two practice concerns can be addressed by appropriate policy, guidelines and practice.

Conclusion: The reviewed common concerns against water birth are not evidence-based nor are they sufficient to prevent women from accessing the use of water in labour and birth. Health institutions and clinicians should ensure they take adequate precautions to enable women access to this valued and effective method of birth.
Keyword Water birth
Immersion
Complication
Aspiration
Infection
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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