The Benefits of Labouring in Water for Plus-Size Women

K.D.Brainin Founder & Director
Blog: 18.01.2021

Childbirth is a transformative experience, and every expectant mother deserves the opportunity to have a comfortable and empowering birthing experience.

For plus-size women, the challenges of labour and delivery can sometimes be compounded by their body size.

However, one increasingly popular option that offers numerous benefits is labouring in water.

This article explores the advantages of water labour specifically for plus-size women, highlighting how it can enhance their birthing experience and overall well-being.

Buoyancy and Weight Support

One of the primary benefits of labouring in water for plus-size women is the buoyancy and weight support provided by the water.

As water buoys the body, it reduces the gravitational pull on joints and muscles, making it easier for women with larger body sizes to move and change positions during labour.

This buoyancy can alleviate the pressure on the pelvis and lower back, which is especially important for plus-size women who may already experience discomfort in these areas due to their size.

Reference: Geissbuehler V, Stein S, Eberhard J. Waterbirths compared with land births: an observational study of nine years. J Perinat Med. 2004;32(4):308-314.

Pain Relief and Relaxation

Warm water has a natural analgesic effect, helping to ease the pain and discomfort associated with labour contractions.

Plus-size women may have additional challenges due to their size, such as increased strain on the body, making the soothing properties of water particularly beneficial.

Water labour can promote relaxation, reduce stress, and create a calming environment, allowing mothers to focus on their breathing and coping techniques.

Reference: Harper SG, Lynch M, Vernacchio L. “Waterbirth: a retrospective comparative study of waterbirth and land birth outcomes.” Journal of Perinatal Education. 2002;11(2):22-29.

Improved Blood Circulation

For plus-size women, carrying extra weight can sometimes lead to issues with blood circulation and swelling in the extremities.

Immersing in warm water during labour can improve blood circulation by promoting vasodilation, which can help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort.

Improved circulation can also support the baby’s oxygen supply during contractions.

Reference: Mollamahmutoglu L, Moraloğlu Ö, Ozyer S, et al. Warm showers as an alternative to warm sponges for the management of third stage of labour. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology. 2002;101(1):19-23.

Enhanced Mobility and Positioning

Water labour allows for greater freedom of movement, which is especially valuable for plus-size women.

The buoyancy of water makes it easier to change positions, squat, or kneel, providing a range of options for comfort and facilitating the progress of labour.

The flexibility to find a comfortable position can be especially important for plus-size women, as it may help prevent complications and reduce the need for interventions.

Reference: Cluett ER, Burns E. Immersion in water in labour and birth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009(2):CD000111.

Reduced Stress on Joints

The extra weight carried by plus-size women can put strain on their joints and ligaments, potentially leading to discomfort during labour.

Immersion in water can reduce the stress on joints, making movements smoother and less painful.

This can be particularly advantageous during the pushing phase of labour, as it allows for better control and coordination of efforts.

Reference: Zanetti-Daellenbach R, Tschudin S, Zhong X, et al. Influence of immersion in water on uterine contractility and cerebral oxygenation during the first stage of labour. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007;196(5):468.e1-8.


Laboring in water offers numerous benefits to plus-size women, enhancing their birthing experience and promoting a sense of empowerment during childbirth.

The buoyancy and weight support of water, coupled with its pain-relieving properties and improved circulation, make it a valuable option for managing the unique challenges associated with labouring while plus-size.

Ultimately, the decision to labour in water should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider, taking into account individual preferences and medical considerations.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that water labour can provide a positive and supportive environment for plus-size women, contributing to a more comfortable and fulfilling childbirth experience.

Active Birth Pools are designed to cater to the specific needs of plus-size women during childbirth

Our pools boast a spacious and ergonomic structure that allows for comfortable movement and positioning during labor.

Their wider dimensions and sturdy construction provide ample room and support for plus-size mothers, ensuring they can find comfortable birthing positions without constraints.

The carefully engineered design also takes into consideration accessibility, making it easier for expectant mothers of all sizes to enter and exit the pool safely.

These pools are equipped with features like grab rails and steps to ensure stability and ease of use.

In essence, the design of active birth pools prioritizes inclusivity and comfort, empowering plus-size women to have a positive and fulfilling birthing experience.

Mothers tell us that, ‘they love our water birth pools’.

The Advantages of Water Birth: A Comprehensive Overview

A way to make labour shorter, easier and more comfortable


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