Water birth

What is a water birth?

Allina Health is pleased to offer water birth delivery as an option for a woman's birth experience. During a water birth, the mother gives birth in water in a special birthing tub. She may also spend part of her labor in the tub. This special tub is larger and deeper than a regular bathtub, deep enough for water to cover the mother's abdomen. Water birth deliveries occur in a caring environment and are supported by an experienced team specially trained in water births.

The following Allina Health hospitals offer water birth delivery:

Is a water birth an option for me?

Women who are considering a water birth must meet the following criteria. It is recommended you discuss this option and criteria with your health care provider.

  • full term, low-risk pregnancy
  • free of infection and other medical conditions
  • pregnant with one baby (not twins)
  • no history of high blood pressure
  • no history of bleeding disorders
  • no complications during pregnancy or labor
  • must meet pre-pregnancy BMI criteria

Benefits of choosing a water birth may include:

for the mother:

  • comfort, relaxation and soothing feelings from the warm water
  • ability to move more freely during labor
  • more efficient contractions and improved blood circulation resulting in less pain for the mother and more oxygen for the baby
  • reduced stress-related hormones, allowing the mother's body to produce endorphins which serve as pain-inhibitors
  • a more relaxed body, reducing the chance of tearing and a need for stiches
  • physical and mental relaxations, allowing for a greater ability to focus on the birthing process
  • a greater sense of privacy, reducing inhibitions, anxieties and fears

for the baby:

  • provides an environment similar to being in the uterus surrounded by fluid
  • eases the stress of the birth resulting in greater reassurance and a sense of security

Source: Dawn Dahlgren-Roemmi, APRN CNM MS and Kathrine Simon, APRN CNM MS
Reviewed By: Dawn Dahlgren-Roemmi, APRN CNM MS and Kathrine Simon, APRN CNM MS
First Published: 05/13/2015
Last Reviewed: 05/13/2013

mother kissing newborn