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Water Birth Program

We are proud to offer water birth as an option for families under our care. Our Midwives attend water births at both area hospitals in specially designed water birth tubs. Our midwives are highly skilled in water birth and have offered water birth since 2009. We encourage you to think about water birth as one of the many tools to help achieve your goals during labor and birth.


Who can have a water birth?

Water birth is for low-risk birthing women. You must be a patient of the Vancouver Clinic nurse-midwives to plan a water birth. Your plan for water birth will be evaluated throughout pregnancy and labor. As each pregnancy is unique, you will need to discuss your birth plan options with your midwife during your regular prenatal visits. If a concern arises during your labor you may be asked to move out of the tub. The safety of mother and baby is our top priority. A trusting relationship with your midwives and nurses is important to ensure a safe birth.

Potential Benefits

  • Enhanced comfort and relaxation
  • Reduced need for pain medication
  • Enhanced emotional well-being and a greater sense of control
  • Shorter labor


  • Lung injury if your baby breathes in water
  • Delay in detecting and handling complications of the birth process.
  • Increased body temperature for mom and baby
  • Dehydration

General requirements for waterbirth:

  • Healthy mom and baby
  • Review and signing of a water birth consent form
  • Reassuring testing throughout pregnancy
    • Required routine blood tests and ultrasounds
    • Blood test screening for Gestational Diabetes
  • Reassuring fetal heart monitoring on admission to hospital, before entering the water birth tub, and during your labor as needed

Here are some issues that may exclude you from this type of birth. Talk to your midwife for more details.

  • Previous Cesarean section
  • Induction of labor
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Concerns about the health of mom or baby
  • High blood pressure
  • Meconium-stained amniotic fluid

Water birth class

If you plan to give birth at PeaceHealth you will need to sign up for a water birth class. We also recommend this class for women who plan to go to Legacy Salmon Creek.

Visit to learn about water birth classes.


Other childbirth education classes

The water birth class does not cover all aspects of labor and birth, so we do strongly recommend you take a childbirth preparation class as well. Talk to your midwife about options.

Even if you don’t choose water birth, each labor suite has a bathtub and shower that can be used for labor. Many people find that these comforts help them in labor.