Mums in labour at Mount Isa Hospital now have the choice of using a water bath for pain relief in labour.
The North West Hospital and Health Service (NWHHS) Nurse Unit Manager for Maternity, Kerry Owens, stressed the bath was not for birthing, but only for pain relief during labour.
“Water immersion is now a recommended pain relief option for childbirth as it can reduce the use of other methods of pain relief, gives the woman in labour greater freedom of movement, and promotes more effective contractions if labour is well established before she enters the water,” Ms Owens said.
It can also promote deep relaxation and help relieve anxiety during labour, she said.
Expectant women who are planning on giving birth at Mount Isa Hospital can discuss the option of using the pain relief bath during labour with their midwife or doctor, but Ms Owens said there are inclusion criteria for using water immersion as pain relief.
“The pregnancy must be an uncomplicated one with no antenatal or labour risk factors and greater than 37 weeks, but we can discuss this with the women when they enquire about the use of the bath,” Ms Owens said.
Another factor is that there need to be four midwives/nurses trained in water immersion on duty at the time the woman is using the bath, Ms Owens said.
The bath is within a birth suite, which also has a separate ensuite bathroom, and will depend on the availability of the birth suite, she said.