Water off a duck's back! Or is it?

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Recent research highlights women experience great benefits from immersing in warm water during labour and birth. However, what is not known, is the extent and level to which women are made aware of the option of water immersion during their pregnancy. There is also no study that has explored the views and perceptions of water immersion from women who have not used the option.

The objective of this study was to examine the views and perceptions of water immersion from women who had birthed in Australia but had not used the option.

A total of 395 women who had not used water immersion for labour or birth shared their views and perceptions via an e-survey between November 2016 and October 2017. Purposive and snowball sampling methods were employed. Ethics approval was gained.

Almost 20% of the women surveyed were unaware that water immersion was an option for labour and birth; they were only made aware as a result of participating in this study. Of all women surveyed, 75.2% (n=297/395) selected ‘yes’ when asked if they would have considered the option of water immersion if it was offered to them. Of those who knew about water immersion, most were informed by a midwife (45.1%, n=141/284) or read about it on the internet (23.6%, n=74/284). The majority held very little concern for commonly documented risks and generally agreed that water immersion would probably provide the benefits that are highlighted in the literature.

Autonomy and self-determination are recognised as contributors to women’s birth satisfaction. Water immersion offers women many benefits and is commonly associated with high levels of satisfaction however, it is not always discussed alongside other more commonly used pain relief options. The results of this study suggest that women would consider water immersion for labour and birth if they were made aware that it was an option. As such, clinicians should consider how water for labour and birth can be more readily incorporated into antenatal discussions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S37-S37
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 P16 Wednesday 13th September 2023


  • Birth choice
  • Water immersion
  • Labour


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