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Warm water bathing did not reduce use of pharmacological analgesia during the first stage of labour

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 QUESTION: In women in labour, does warm water bathing reduce the need for pharmacological pain relief more than no bathing?


Randomised (allocation concealed*), partially blinded (data analysts blinded to study group allocation where appropriate),* controlled trial with 8 months of follow up.


A maternity tertiary-care referral centre in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.


274 pregnant women (mean age 28 y) who were planning to deliver at the study hospital, were expecting a singleton pregnancy at term, and had no medical or obstetric complications. Exclusion criteria were labour before 37 weeks of gestation, plans to deliver by caesarean section, requirement for continuous electronic fetal monitoring, history of group B streptococcal vaginal colonisation, or need for parenteral narcotic or epidural blockade shortly after admission. All women were included in the analysis.


Women were allocated to warm water bathing (n=137) or routine hospital care (n=137). Women in the bathing group could have a bath for as long as they liked …

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