The Use of Water

You might want to spend some of the time when you are in early labour relaxing in a warm bath. Once labour is established you can get into a deeper pool of water and this can help you through the later stages of labour. . Women can also choose to deliver their baby in water.
The calming, soothing properties of water have long been recognised. For many years, Midwives have encouraged women to use water during pregnancy and labour in order to gain these beneficial effects.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that being in water during labour provides good pain relief. Women can leave the water at any time and there are no unwanted side-effects. In addition, NICE advises that using a birth pool for pain relief reduces the need for an epidural.

Women react to pain in different ways and although water does not give complete pain relief it can reduce the pain you feel to a manageable level, often so much that you may not need additional methods of pain relief.

People often use warm water to relax and unwind; it eases aches and pains experienced with backache, aching muscles and menstrual pain. In labour, warm water also aids relaxation and eases pain.

Research suggests that the warm, soothing effect of the water helps the body produce endorphin hormones (the body's own natural painkillers). These endorphins also act as mood uplifters, and can also help to stimulate strong womb contractions, making the labour shorter.
When the pool is used for both labour and birth, women have noted: 
  • Greater mobility and comfort 
  • That they do not feel abdominal pressure so much 
  • That they are able to conserve their energy 
  • That pain is easier to manage.


Find out what pregnancy and early years events are being held.


Share your thoughts, stories and advice on our new community forum.


A comprehsive list of available online resources to help you through your pregnancy.

Phone Book

Key contact details for local hospitals and support services.