Nurse-Midwifery M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Wrede, Jane


Background/Purpose: The purpose of this literature analysis was to identify the effects of hydrotherapy use in the first stage of labor. Although hydrotherapy has been well-studied and its benefits well documented, it is use in labor still remains under-utilized in the United States. There has been a recent rise in medical intervention in labor and a coinciding rising cesarean section rate. In an effort to promote physiologic labor, both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) have issued statements supporting hydrotherapy use during labor. Theoretical Framework: Katherine Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort provides a framework for the use of hydrotherapy and its role throughout the physiologic labor process. It can be utilized to promote holistic assessment and care. It will help guide them in providing comfort care to pregnant women in several settings. Methods: 22 scholarly articles were evaluated and analyzed using the Johns Hopkins Research Evidence Appraisal Tool. Results/Findings: Hydrotherapy use during the first stage of labor provides several benefits that promote physiologic labor. They include a decrease in pain, need for obstetric intervention, induction, and augmentation, epidural analgesia use, and anxiety. There was an increase in maternal satisfaction and movement during labor. Benefits were also seen in the levels of release of the hormones cortisol and endorphins. Implications for Practice: Nurse-midwives can educate pregnant women on the benefits of hydrotherapy and how it facilitates a physiologic labor process. They are well trained to provide the option of hydrotherapy for use during labor.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse-Midwifery

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis