Pool, Tub or Shower: Which Hydrotherapy Option is Right for You?

For many women hydrotherapy during labor and delivery is a clear choice. At Burdett Birth Center the practice, which refers to using warm water as a therapy during the birthing process, includes use of whirlpool tubs, stand-up showers, or our brand new birthing pools for water births. The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) affirms that “warm water immersion hydrotherapy during labor provides comfort, supports relaxation, and is a safe and effective non-pharmacologic pain relief strategy that promotes physiologic childbirth.”

When women sink into the warm water of a pool, tub or shower, there is a chemical and hormonal response which results in increased levels of oxytocin and a flood of endorphins to the brain. This helps mothers to relax and regulates the intensity of contractions. Therefore, for many women, hydrotherapeutic options are the best kind of natural pain management.

Burdett’s midwives and nurses are trained in hydrotherapy and are available to discuss which option is best for you. Here’s a quick overview of the three hydrotherapy options at Burdett Birth Center:


Some women choose to labor in our showers because it allows them to use gravity and movement combined with warm water to ease the pain and help achieve a medication-free delivery. Women may sit down on a chair, stand or use a birthing ball while in the shower. They may elect to be joined by their partner, who should dress comfortably knowing that nurses may need to enter the shower to test the fetal heart rate. Most partners wear a pair of trunks or a bathing suit while in the shower, so consider this when packing your maternity bag.  Each room has an adjoining bathroom with a private shower so that women can move between the bed and shower with ease.

Whirlpool Tubs

While some women enjoy standing, others prefer to float in the water in our whirlpool tubs as a form of hydrotherapy during labor. Though these tubs cannot be used for delivery, the jets and warm water are a common choice for women looking to relax and ease pain during labor. Women who use whirlpool tubs may experience heightened energy during later stages of labor due to the release of endorphins often associated with using the tubs.

Birthing Pools

Birthing pools offer the benefits of whirlpool tubs, but can also be used for delivery. Giving birth in water is considered to be less stressful for both mother and baby, in addition to lowering the risk of some fetal complications. Burdett Birth Center currently has two top-of-the-line ‘Birth Pool in a Box’ pools birthing pools that can be used in any of the eight LDRP rooms. Both pools are deluxe edition, which include a soft inflated seat and built-in cup holder to keep moms hydrated during labor and delivery. The pools are comfortable, durable and safe for mother and baby.

To learn more about your hydrotherapy options during your visit, speak to your Burdett Birth Center midwife or nurse or contact us at (518) 271-3393.

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