Waterbirths were associated with low pain relief during delivery, high breastfeeding success and healthy newborn infants

Maiju Hautala, Marika Smeds, Leena Taittonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    Aim: Our aim was to compare the outcomes of waterbirths and conventional births in a Finnish hospital setting for the first time. Methods: This retrospective study compared waterbirths with conventional low-risk deliveries from September 2018 to March 2021 at a level-two hospital in Finland. Cases and controls were collected from the patient records database. Results: The study comprised 78 waterbirths and 1623 matched conventional births. Mothers in the waterbirth group only required a quarter of the amount of pain medication required by those in the control group. Babies born in water had slightly lower birth temperatures than those born conventionally (36.6 versus 36.8°C). Umbilical cord artery and vein pH were slightly higher in the waterbirth group than in the control group (artery 7.31 versus 7.28 and vein 7.38 versus 7.35). The Apgar scores did not differ. Hospital stays were shorter in the waterbirth group than in the conventional birth group (1.90 versus 2.33 days). Babies in the waterbirth group were significantly less likely to require formula than those in the conventional birth group during their hospital stay. Conclusion: Waterbirth decreased the requirement for maternal pain medication and favoured greater breastfeeding and earlier discharge. Prospective studies must confirm these findings.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jun 2022
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Keywords

    • breast feeding
    • comparative study
    • newborn infant
    • pain relief
    • waterbirth

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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