Immersion in Water in the First Stage of Labor: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Eckert, Kerena, Turnbull, Deborah and MacLennan, Alastair (2001) Immersion in Water in the First Stage of Labor: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Birth, 28 2: 84-93. doi:10.1046/j.1523-536X.2001.00084.x

Author Eckert, Kerena
Turnbull, Deborah
MacLennan, Alastair
Title Immersion in Water in the First Stage of Labor: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Journal name Birth   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0730-7659
Publication date 2001-06-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1046/j.1523-536X.2001.00084.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 28
Issue 2
Start page 84
End page 93
Total pages 10
Place of publication United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine
1103 Clinical Sciences
1117 Public Health and Health Services
Formatted abstract
Background:Current forms of analgesia often have significant side effects for women in labor. Bathing in warm water during labor has been reported to increase a woman's comfort level and cause a reduction in painful contractions. The objective of this trial was to compare immersion in warm water during labor with traditional pain management for a range of clinical and psychological outcomes.Methods:A prospective randomized controlled trial of 274 pregnant women, who were free from medical and obstetric complications and expecting a singleton pregnancy at term, was conducted at the Women's and Children's Hospital, a maternity tertiary referral center in Adelaide, South Australia. Women in labor were randomized to an experimental group who received immersion in a bath or to a nonbath group who received routine care. Pharmacological pain relief was the primary outcome that was measured, and secondary outcomes included maternal and neonatal clinical outcomes, factors relating to maternal and neonatal infectious morbidity, psychological outcomes, and satisfaction with care.Results:The use of pharmacological analgesia was similar for both the experimental and control groups; 85 and 77 percent, respectively, used major analgesia. No statistical differences were observed in the proportion of women requiring induction and augmentation of labor or in rates of perineal trauma, length of labor, mode of delivery, or frequency of cardiotocographic trace abnormalities. Neonatal outcomes (birthweight, Apgar score, nursery care, meconium-stained liquor, cord pH estimations) revealed no statistically significant differences. Infants of bath group women required significantly more resuscitation than routine group women. Routine group women rated their overall experience of childbirth more positively than bath group women. Psychological outcomes, such as satisfaction with care or postnatal distress, were the same for both groups.Conclusion:Bathing in labor confers no clear benefits for the laboring woman but may contribute to adverse effects in the neonate.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 30 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 39 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 13 Apr 2006, 20:00:43 EST