A new position statement released last week recognizes the benefits of laboring in a tub of warm water to relieve pain and discomfort but does not recommend women give birth in the tub.

The joint statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics said there has been little evidence of the benefits of birthing in the tub but there are documented and real risks, including infection, difficulty regulating the baby's body temperature and respiratory distress if the baby inhales water.

Opinions vary widely on the use of tubs during birth. It can be a terrific way for women to relax during the labor process, but I would side with the findings in this report that there is no clear, evidence based research on the benefits of birthing in a tub. The most important consideration for a caregiver during the birth process is the safety of both mother and child. To claim that tub births are fine for normal low-risk births can be misleading because all births come with some element of risk; that is simply the nature of childbirth. I would always recommend to my patients to go with the evidence when it comes to assessing risk, and make their choice from there.

Read the CBC story on this report.