Date of Submission



The use of deep-water immersion during labour and birth is commonplace in many countries including Australia, yet there has been little contemporary Australian data from which to form policies regarding its use during childbirth, or which have included women's experiences using water immersion. The literature reviewed for this study was positive with regard to the effect of water immersion during childbirth and was associated with decreased rates of perineal trauma, low episiotomy rates, low rates of analgesic use, lower operative deliveries coupled with increased maternal satisfaction of the experience of childbirth when compared with births where water immersion was not involved. The purpose of this research was to investigate the influence of deep-water immersion upon maternal and neonatal outcomes and women's experiences of giving birth in Australia. This study used a mixed method in an attempt to fulfil this purpose: the first phase was a Quasi-experimental design and the second phase was based upon a Hermeneutic Phenomenological approach. Data were collected via a Random Chart Audit, from a random sample of fifty nulliparous women who used deepwater immersion during labour and childbirth and six women were selected to participate in a semi-structured interview. Data from each phase of this study revealed positive birth outcomes and these findings were supported by the literature. The women's stories were positive and comprised elements of four lifeworld themes. * Water's Embrace * Warped Time * Naked but Clothed * The Shape of Water. Each of these themes encapsulated different aspects of the women's experiences, which when considered together, increased the understanding of the phenomenon of deep-water immersion upon the experience of giving birth.

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


139 pages


Faculty of Health Sciences