Labour and Birth in Water

Today many women choose to labour and/or give birth while immersed in water. Some women choose to labour in a pool but get out before giving birth to their baby. Other women choose to remain in the pool and give birth to their baby in water. Labouring and birthing water was once only an option for women planning a home birth. However, the benefits of being in warm water for women in labour are now well recognised and most maternity hospitals and birth centres have pools that women can use during labour or to give birth in.

The Maternity Services Consumer Council has produced a pamphlet that provides you with information on both the benefits and potential complications of labouring and giving birth in water.

Information in the pamphlet covers:

  • The use of water during labour
  • The benefits of labour and birth in water
  • Research evidence
  • Entering the pool
  • Giving birth in water
  • Access to water birth in New Zealand hospitals
  • Water birth at home

If you would like to receive a copy of our pamphlet – a single copy is available free of charge – or wish to order copies for your practice, then please contact us at or download a copy of our order form from our website. Please note there is a charge for ordering multiple copies of this series of pamphlets; the charge depends on how many you order.

An important element in using immersion in water for labour and possibly for the birth of the baby is that it provides an effective way of helping the woman cope with the pain of labour, and gives back control of birth to the woman herself. Yet there is more to it even than that. It seems to create an entirely different environment and atmosphere for a woman giving birth, as it does also for the midwife caring for her. Birth takes place in a quiet room, with personal care from a midwife who is concerned to support the normal physiological process of birth.” - Lesley Page and Sheila Kitzinger