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News & Press: Legislative Alerts

AABC Provides Women with Clear Facts about Water Birth Safety

Friday, April 04, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kelly Shaw

In response to the recent American College of Physicians (ACP) and American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) opinion paper on water birth, the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) released a position statement on water immersion during labor and birth.

The AABC position paper draws on best evidence to refute conclusions about water for second stage labor and for birth included in the document, “Immersion in Water During Labor and Delivery”. “The importance of publishing an evidence-based response to the ACOG/AAP Committee Opinion document is to ease inappropriate fear about the safety of water birth and provide childbearing families access to accurate water birth information,” explains Lesley Rathbun, President of the AABC.

“This document enables families to make informed decisions regarding immersion in water for second stage labor and birth.” First stage water birth benefits were reinforced by the published randomized controlled trials and are not the primary focus of the AACP/AAP opinion or the AABC position paper.

The AABC collected and analyzed statistically significant data from the Perinatal Data Registry on the use of water for labor and water birth to find: “These data demonstrate that water birth, with careful selection criteria and experienced providers, does not negatively affect mothers or newborns.” The full report included low to no percentage rates in critical areas such as newborn transfer, adverse newborn outcomes, and incidence of respiratory infection.

The position paper in detail, including citation sources, is available here. The AABC advocates for further study, informed consent and the continued collection of data outcomes on immersion in water during second stage labor and for birth.


About the American Association of Birth Centers
The American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) is a multi‐disciplinary membership organization comprised of birth centers, and individuals and organizations that support the birth center concept including certified nurse midwives (CNMs), certified professional midwives (CPMs), physicians, nurses, women and their families. Founded in 1983, AABC is dedicated to developing quality holistic services for childbearing families that promote self‐reliance and confidence in birth and parenting. AABC publishes materials on birth centers, sets national standards for birth center operation, and promotes state regulations for licensure and national accreditation by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers. More information about AABC can be found at:

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