A major child birth charity has urged midwives and hospitals in the UK to give mums-to-be the chance of a waterbirth. According to the charity, labour and birth in water offers a number of benefits over conventional practices for healthy women with an uncomplicated pregnancy at term. Past research has also shown that waterbirths tend to make women feel more in control and relaxed, resulting in less painful contractions, less stress to the baby and a reduced need for painkilling drugs, compared to traditional birthing practices. Furthermore, women who have waterbirths also tend to have fewer interventions, and shorter labours. A survey conducted by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) has revealed that while 90 per cent of women are aware of the benefits of using water during labour and birth, more than 60 per cent are not being given the choice.
The NCT has now urged all maternity units to provide the option of giving birth in water, for every healthy woman with a low risk pregnancy. They suggested having a birthing pool in every delivery room and training all midwives to support women who wish to use them. Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the NCT, added that this approach would help hospitals reduce their Caesarean rates.