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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2008 Jan-Feb;37(1):116-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2007.00212.x.

Observing position and movements in hydrotherapy: a pilot study.

Author information

1
Bronson School of Nursing, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, USA. mary.stark@wmich.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To observe and describe the positions and movements women choose while immersed in water during the first stage of labor.

DESIGN:

Descriptive, observational pilot study.

SETTING:

A rural community hospital that provided hydrotherapy in labor.

PARTICIPANTS:

Women (N = 7) who intended to use hydrotherapy in labor were recruited prenatally from a midwife-managed practice.

MEASURES:

For 15 minutes of each hour during the first stage of labor, position and movements of the participants were observed and recorded on a laptop computer. The observational tool was developed for this study from a review of the literature and interviews with nursing experts; 435 observations were recorded. Women were free to choose when and how long to use hydrotherapy and had no restriction on their positions and movements.

RESULTS:

Only 3 of the 7 participants labored in the tub. Women demonstrated a greater range of positions and movements in the tub than in bed, both throughout labor and during late first-stage labor (7-10 cm of dilatation). Women had more contractions and made more rhythmic movements while in the tub than in bed.

CONCLUSIONS:

Hydrotherapy may encourage upright positions and movements that facilitate labor progress and coping, helping women avoid unnecessary interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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