Water birth is widely available in English maternity settings for women who are not at increased risk of complications during labour. Immersion in water during labour is associated with a number of maternal benefits.
However for birth in water the situation is less clear, with conclusive evidence on safety lacking and little known about the characteristics of women who give birth in water.
This retrospective cohort study uses electronic data routinely collected in the course of maternity care in England in 2015–16 to describe the proportion of births recorded as having occurred in water, the characteristics of women who experienced water birth and the odds of key maternal and neonatal complications associated with giving birth in water.
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