Make Water Birth available at Castlemaine Hospital

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!

I am expecting my third baby in July and I would like to have a water birth. My two closest hospitals are Ballarat and Castlemaine. Ballarat is a teaching hospital and although they have a large bath, there is not adequate space in the bathroom for an infant resuscitation unit. Castlemaine is my hospital of choice and there are no obvious barriers to offering water birth there.

Castlemaine Family Birthing Suite is a three room facility in Central Victoria where women with low-risk pregnancies can give birth. The Suite has a large bath that is available to women during labour, however due to Hospital policy women must leave the bath to give birth.

Birthing into water is something that many women find very attractive. Water acts as a natural analgesic for a labouring woman and reduces the number of women requesting or requiring pain relief, particularly epidural in early labour (Cochrane Review). Also, in the few studies that have been done on birthing in water, no adverse outcomes have been reported for either mother or baby. On the contrary, women who give birth in water are more likely to enjoy the experience of giving birth, have less recollection of pain, and are more likely to feel like that they handled the experience well (Nutter et al. (2014a))

The RANZCOG recommendations around water birth are that the facility have:

1. Protocols for candidate selection, infection control, OHS procedures and exclusion criteria

2. That women electing to have a water birth are given adequate information and are able to give informed consent

3. That clinicians attending women who labour or birth in water have appropriate training/competence in the management of water birth

4. That staff receive training in obstetric emergency drills and correct procedures for helping a woman to leave the water in an emergency

5. and that auditing procedures in place for annual audit of maternal and neonatal outcomes

Because the hospital already offer warm water immersion during labour and because they only accept women with low-risk pregnancies, many of these criteria are already met.

If you would like to see water birth become available to myself and other women birthing at Castlemaine, please add your name to the petition. 


List of Australian hospitals offering water birth:

Cochrane Review findings:

RANZCOG guidelines:

Clinical research: