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Water Birth

Benefits of Water Birth

Denver Health is the only hospital in the city of Denver to offer water birth in a hospital setting.

What is water birth?

Water birth is where a woman uses warm water in a bath tub or specialized birthing pool to help ease the discomfort of labor and delivery of the baby.

How does it work?

Warm water helps ease the discomfort of childbirth by providing buoyancy, relaxing muscles, decreases pain sensation, and providing a calm environment for labor and birth. Women who use warm water for labor and birth report higher level of satisfaction, feel more relaxed, use less medicine for pain and assistance of labor and are able to change positions more easily. 

What are the potential risks of water birth?

Women who qualify for water birth have minimal risk of problems occurring. Potential risks of laboring and delivering in a warm tub of water include feeling too warm or cold, or becoming dehydrated.  It can be more difficult to know if there is a problem for mom or baby during labor. Although rare, there is a small risk that baby could get an infection from water birth that would need to be treated.

Who can have a water birth?

There are several criteria a woman and her baby must meet prior to labor and during labor to be able to have a water birth.  These include:
  • A body mass index of 30 or less prior to pregnancy
  • Absence of pregnancy related complications including diabetes, high-blood pressure or pre-eclampsia, a prior cesarean section, excessive bleeding or other health concerns for mom or baby
  • Clear amniotic fluid
  • Absence of infection
  • A baby who is tolerating labor with a reassuring heart rhythm
  • Greater than 37 and 0 days gestational age and baby in a head-down position
  • Ability of your midwife and nurse to provide one-to-one care for you
  • Absence of any condition limiting a woman’s mobility or ability to communicate with her provider.

How do I have a water birth?

During your prenatal visits, take time with your OB provider to discuss your wishes during labor and to discuss if you can meet the criteria for water birth. Your chart will be marked with your desire for a water birth so staff can be ready when you arrive in labor at the OB Screening Room.