Immersing for a sense of coherence: casting a salutogenic lens over warm water immersion

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


The literature exploring women’s experiences and views of water immersion consistently reports physiological, physical, and psychological benefits. These benefits appear to contribute to a greater sense of self-efficacy and a more holistic and satisfying birth experience. While it is purported that water immersion facilitates a sense of coherence, to date this has not been fully explored.

To explore the concept of sense of coherence as facilitated by water immersion during labour and/or birth.

A concept analysis and synthesis were undertaken. CINAHL, Medline, PubMed, PsycINFO and Emcare were searched in February 2022. Results were cross-checked with Google Scholar. No timeframe was specified, and results were restricted to research papers written in English. Overall, 2768 papers were retrieved and after removal of duplicates and unrelated papers, abstracts were screened against the inclusion criteria i.e., women’s experiences of water immersion for labour and/or birth. This process yielded a total of 40 articles and two theses. Attributes were described and an exemplar case developed.

Three attributes were identified; agency, holistic and complete and more than pain relief which align with the three sense of coherence components: comprehensible, meaningfulness and manageability. The presence and combined effect of these attributes facilitate a sense of coherence which in turn leads to women expressing a more positive and fulfilling labour and birth experience when water is used.

Water immersion provides women with much more than pain relief. Women say it also facilitates a sense of agency. They see it as a mechanism for keeping birth as normal as possible and as an opportunity to be acknowledged as a complete person, rather than just the vessel for birth.

Key message
Water immersion offers a holistic approach to labour and birth. Women experience agency, and benefits beyond pain relief, with this leading to a sense of coherence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S32-S32
Number of pages1
JournalWomen and Birth
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
EventAustralian College of Midwives National Conference: Be the Change - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 12 Sept 202314 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Poster presentation by Megan Cooper Tuesday 12th September 2023


  • Water immersion
  • Birth choice
  • Labour


Dive into the research topics of 'Immersing for a sense of coherence: casting a salutogenic lens over warm water immersion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this