Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Complications of Water-Birth Compared with Conventional Delivery

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ovulation Dysfunction Research Center, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

3 General Physician, Razavi Hospital, Mashhad, Iran.


Introduction: Considering to the use of warm water for decreasing labor pain and due to the doubts regarding the complications of water-birth, this study was performed to evaluate maternal-fetal and neonatal complications of water-birth compared with conventional delivery.
Methods: This clinical trial was conducted on 200 pregnant women during 2008 and 2009 in Omolbanin hospital, Mashhad, Iran. Women were divided into two groups of 100 women in conventional delivery and 100 women in water birth groups. In water birth group, mothers were allowed to move freely and fluid intake was not limited. In conventional delivery group, delivery was performed on bed in routine method of maternity. Delivery duration, cesarean rate, postpartum hemorrhage, maternal and neonatal infection during the first week after delivery, early neonatal Apgar scores, neonatal eye infection and the rate of NICU admission were compared between two groups. Finally, 88 women in conventional delivery group and 83 cases in water birth groups remained. Data were analyzed using statistical SPSS software (version 14), Kolmogorov-Smirnov, Chi-square and t-student tests. P value less than 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Mean duration of first (p=0.344), second (p=0.372) and third (p=0.523) stages of labor were not statistically significant between two groups. Cesarean rate was significantly higher in conventional delivery group than water-birth group (p=0.018). First (p=0.026)and five (p≤0.001) minutes Apgar scores were significantly higher in water-birth group than conventional delivery group. No significant differences were observed between two groups in terms of other variables.
Conclusion: Water birth does not increase neonatal infection and the rate of maternal and neonatal morbidity and can be use as a method to reduce labor pain and improve delivery duration process.