Databases like EBSCOhost and OVID will be examined to ensure only verified information is retrieved. Through a critical review, the most pertinent facts relative to women labouring in water, including the known benefits as well as the dangers associated with this procedure in comparison to modern birthing methods with the assistance of an obstetrician. Established guidelines will also be discussed, providing a conclusive detail of the procedures, guidelines, necessary equipment, possible complications, and best practices for assisting women that decide to labour in water. The overall experiences of women labouring in water will be examined and areas for further research will be presented as well as the use of hydrotherapy historically and currently. Women have been giving birth since the dawn of humanity, which makes midwifery one of the oldest forms of medicinal practice. Inasmuch, the practice of labouring in water is equally as old, as stories of Egyptian Pharaoh’s being born in water and South Pacific Island women giving birth in shallow tide pools (Balaskas, 2004). Water has been used for its therapeutic benefits for many years, the Victorians particularly were known for ‘taking the waters’ which led to fashionable spa towns being built all over the world. The use of hydrotherapy is so common in some countries, like Guyana in South America, that there are designated places where women go to labour and give birth in water at the local river. While this custom is common in many nations, waterbirths and labouring in water are relatively new developments in Western civilizations. The first waterbirth recorded in Western medicine took place in France in 1803 when a mother was enduring an extremely difficult labour and was finally able to give birth when immersed in a tub of warm water (Church 1989), although there are many stories and legends from Native Americans, New Zealand and Mongolia (Mackay 2001). However, it was not until the 1970’s that growing concern regarding the way women in labour were cared for in developed countries spurned interest in formulating a better method to help babies make the transition from the womb to life outside the womb as easy as possible. In particular, concern was expressed in regards to the numerous interventions prevalent in modern maternity care, which caused labour and delivery to be a harrowing and distressing experience for both mother and baby,
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Although waterbirths and labouring in water have been common practices since the time of the pharaoh’s, there remains an absence of empirical research to substantiate its use in modern medicine…
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13 pages (3250 words)Dissertation
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