Hospitals are increasingly giving women the option of going through labor or giving birth in a pool of warm water. Laboring in the tub is fine, the nation's obstetricians and pediatricians say, but there's not enough proof that it's safe to actually give birth in one.
The doctors' statement has raised eyebrows among nurse-midwives, who have been helping women deliver in water for decades in order to ease pain and speed delivery.
"I would consider warm water immersion during labor and birth a midwifery standard of practice," says Jenna Shaw-Battista, director of the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program at the University of California, San Francisco. "We don't believe that the [doctors'] letter accurately portrays the growing body of research supporting water birth." [Read More]