Characteristics, Interventions, and Outcomes of Women Who Used a Birthing Pool: A Prospective Observational Study
Birthing pools are integrated into maternity care in the United Kingdom and are a popular care option for women in midwifery‐led units and at home. The objective of this study was to describe and compare maternal characteristics, intrapartum events, interventions, and maternal and neonatal outcomes by planned place of birth for women who used a birthing pool.
A total of 8,924 women at low risk of childbirth complications were recruited from care settings in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Descriptive analysis was performed.
Overall, 7,915 (88.9%) women had a spontaneous birth (5,192, 58.3% water births), of whom 4,953 (55.5%) were nulliparas. Fewer nulliparas whose planned place of birth was the community (freestanding midwifery unit or home) had labor augmentation by artificial membrane rupture (149, 11.3% [95%
Birthing pool use was associated with a high frequency of spontaneous birth, particularly among nulliparas. Findings revealed differences in midwifery practice between obstetric units, alongside midwifery units, and the community, which may affect outcomes, particularly for nulliparas. No evidence was found for a difference across care settings in interventions or outcomes in multiparas or in outcomes for newborns. During water birth, it is important to prevent undue traction on the cord as the baby is guided to the surface. (
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2012