The natural form of pain relief is just one of the benefits of water birth. The warm water relaxes you, and this in turn causes your body to produce endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that function as natural pain relievers. Research shows that women who give birth in water use less pain medication, such as epidurals (Nutter et al 2014). It was also found that people who labour in water report less pain and anxiety (Shaw-Batista 2017).
With a home water birth, access to pain relief is limited. Besides the use of a birth pool, some women use a Labour/Maternity TENS. Research has shown that this form of pain relief is ineffective.
The hospital can provide you with more options to manage your pain. A variety of hospitals provide nitrous oxide (laughing gas). An epidural is also an option. The disadvantages of these forms of pain relief are the potential side effects for both mother and child.