The Center for Women and Families
at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center offers warm pools for use during labor and delivery. Water birthing has been shown to foster relaxation, decrease anxiety and reduce pain.
Some women choose to stay in the tub throughout labor and give birth in the water, and some women choose to spend all or part of labor in the tub and give birth out of the water.
Is water birthing right for you?
Review the following considerations with your medical care provider to find out.
You are likely eligible to labor and give birth in the water if:
- You are pregnant with only one baby.
- Your pregnancy is at full term when you go into labor – greater than 37 weeks for water birth and 35 weeks for laboring in water.
- The baby is positioned head down.
- Your body mass index was lower than 35 before you became pregnant.
- You have not gained more than 50 pounds during pregnancy.
- There is no bleeding greater than “bloody show,” which is the passage of a small amount of blood or blood-tinged mucus through the vagina near the end of pregnancy.
- Your baby’s heart rate is normal.
- If high blood pressure is present, you must check with your medical care provider for eligibility.
- If meconium is present in your amniotic fluid, you may labor in the tub as long as baby’s status is normal, but amniotic fluid must be clear to allow delivery in the tub.
- You must be able to exit the tub quickly when instructed to do so.
You may not be able to labor in the water if:
- Your vital signs are unstable.
- You have symptoms that indicate infection.
- The care team is unable to monitor the baby’s condition as needed, based on identified risk factors.
- You have active genital herpes, HIV, or a positive Hepatitis C or Hepatitis B infection.
- We need to use internal monitoring for the baby.
- Your baby’s heart rate is abnormal.
- You have been diagnosed with preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy, or heart disease).
- Your condition requires the use of an IV pump.
- You are experiencing excessive vaginal bleeding.
- You have used narcotics within one hour of entry into the tub.
- Your amniotic sac has been broken for 18 hours or more without active labor.
- Your baby has not grown sufficiently while in the uterus.
What might keep me from having my baby in the water?
In some situations you may be able to labor in the tub, but may not be eligible to give birth in the tub. This may be the case if:
Frequently asked questions
- You are pregnant with more than one baby.
- You have had uterine surgery.
- You have diabetes of any type that requires medication.
- You would be unable to exit the tub quickly if asked.
- The estimated weight of your baby is greater than or equal to approximately 10 pounds.v
- Your provider has reason to believe you may be unable to pass the shoulders of your baby without help.
Q: How will my baby breathe underwater?
A: Babies do not take their first breath until they are lifted out of the water and come into contact with the air.
Q: Is my risk of infection higher?
A: Studies show neither mother nor baby has a higher risk of infection
Q: Is water birthing safe? How are emergencies handled?
A: Water birthing is just as safe as a birth in a bed when supervised by an experienced health care team. In emergencies the mother may be asked to exit the tub or to change positions.
Talk with your medical care provider to find out more about water birthing, and to decide whether water birthing is right for you.
For more information about the water birthing facilities at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, call (541) 768-5125.