Nurse-Midwifery M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Missal, Bernita


Background: There are many holistic options available to help women cope with the discomforts of labor including pain and anxiety. The use of hydrotherapy during labor is supported by The American College of Nurse-Midwives (2014) due to its many benefits including providing alternative pain relief measures to women during their labor and actual birth (Harper, 2014). Purpose: The purpose of this critical review of the literature is to identify and analyze the benefits of the use of hydrotherapy during labor including the use of showers, water immersion (immersion to the nipple line) and regular bathtubs. Results: Nineteen articles were selected for review and were appraised using the Johns Hopkins Research Evidence Appraisal Tool (Dearholt & Dang, 2012). The major findings of the review of the literature include that the use of hydrotherapy can contribute to a decrease in pain, anxiety, cesarean birth, analgesia, and epidurals as well as the augmentation of labor. In addition the literature reported that hydrotherapy can cause an increase in relaxation, normalization of birth and shorten the first stage of labor. Conclusions: Hydrotherapy should be discussed with patients during pregnancy and offered to women during labor. Hydrotherapy is a low cost option that promotes positive outcomes for mothers and babies. Implications for Research and Practice: Although there is room for further research on the benefits of the use of hydrotherapy during labor, there is enough current research to include hydrotherapy as a beneficial coping option during labor. The findings of this review support providing education and offering hydrotherapy to women during labor.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse-Midwifery

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis