Thoughts From the Fensende Discussion List

Subject: Water Alleviates Pain (Karil Daniels) writes

I've heard many women say that water labor and waterbirth greatly reduced their pain. I'd like to hear about your experiences with water and pain relief. Please share your stories.

Pam, ICCE, responds

I heard a researcher present on this topic in either '92 or '93. I was living in Honolulu, and this was the "Hawaiian Waterfall Study," done at Tripler Army Medical Center. Women were randomized into "shower" and "non-shower" groups. Shower groups took two showers during active labor, about 15-20 minutes each. The non-shower group did not use water for comfort.

The shower group reported feeling less pain than the non-shower group, and the shower group had shorter pushing stages. The shower group was certainly not pain free, but a decrease in perceived pain may help a woman to cope better with her labor. After hearing these results I became a believer and always teach about the use of water in labor. Just wish that I had known about it before I had my own children.