RCM welcomes research showing benefits of water birth

on 06 July 2022 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Workforce Midwife Shortage MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Staffing Levels Waterbirth

Research showing the safety and positive benefits for women having a water birth has been welcomed by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). The research showed that women having a water birth in a hospital obstetric unit had fewer medical interventions and complications during and after the birth. 

Commenting on the research, Clare Livingstone, Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM, said: “This is really good news for women choosing to have a water birth or thinking of having one. There has been previous research outlining the benefits for women and this significant study adds weight to those. It is also positive because it is more information for women when deciding how they want to give birth. 

“Water births are becoming more widely available for women across the UK, but this isn’t the case everywhere. The challenge now is to ensure this choice is open to all women wherever they live.” 

The study did show a small increase in ‘umbilical cord snaps’ - where the baby’s umbilical cord breaks - though the rates remain very low. This will not hurt the baby and the midwife will respond quickly and clamp the cord to prevent any bleeding.

Clare Livingstone added, “What is needed now is to see more research into water births in midwife led settings and in women’s homes. This will give us a broader picture of the impact of water births across all the places in which women give birth.”

The research from Oxford Brookes University will be published in the open access journal BMJ Open tomorrow (6 July). 


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]. 

Notes to Editors

The Oxford Brookes University research can be read at https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/12/7/e056517.full.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team.  We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team