My Guide to Labor & Delivery

Hydrotherapy for Labor

How It’s Done
Water Birth Center St. Louis

Hydrotherapy is the use of water for physical or psychological benefits. The value of hydrotherapy for labor has been known and used around the world for many years. The MoBap Childbirth Center offers two options for hydrotherapy during labor - Showering or Immersion Hydrotherapy.

Showering -- All labor rooms are equipped with a seated shower and removable shower head. Mothers may sit or stand as they enjoy the warm water spray. Labor partners (or doulas) can be seated next to the shower to provide labor comfort measures.

Immersion Hydrotherapy -- Soaking in warm water sufficient to cover the mother’s belly is available upon request and by physician order.

A portable, soft-sided, inflatable labor pool can be brought into your private room. A private room allows a sense of safety and comfort as you relax in warm water. Experience buoyancy and freedom of movement as you spend your labor in the comfort of the labor pool. Labor partners may lean into the tub providing contact labor support. The mother may get in and out as often as she pleases.

Fetal heart monitoring may be done intermittently while in the water or a mobile fetal heart monitoring device may used.

The labor delivery pool is a popular option and must be reserved prior to delivery. You can reserve a labor pool online and request that it be brought to your private delivery room.

The Benefits of Using Immersion Hydrotherapy
Physiological and psychological benefits include:
  • Ease of movement with greater mobility due to buoyancy
  • Relaxation during and between contractions
  • Safe and effective pain management
  • Reduction of blood pressure
  • A sense of control as mother occupies her warm, private space
  • Facilitation of cervical dilation


Water ChildBirth Tub

When the Tub Can Be Used
After an assessment of labor is performed, your obstetrician is notified and there is a physician order to determine appropriateness of the tub. The decision is based on maternal and fetal factors. Discuss using the tub with your doctor during your prenatal visits.

Immersion hydrotherapy may be used any time during labor. In some cases it is best to wait until labor is well-established. For a first-time mom, this is usually 4-5 centimeters of cervical dilation with good, regular contractions.

When Shouldn’t the Tub Be Used
If there are any signs of maternal or fetal distress during labor, your doctor will ask you to return to bed. The tub is inappropriate when using:

  • Epidural anesthesia
  • IV infusion of medicines
  • Medications for pain or induction of labor 
  • Continuous fetal monitoring or if gestational age is less than 37 weeks

Delivering in the Water
We do not allow delivery of the baby in the water. When delivery is near, you will be assisted back to bed for delivery.

For more information on the labor and delivery options available at MoBap, please call (314) 996-5751 or toll-free (800) 392-0936 or email us.