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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Barbara Heater


labor, hydrotherapy


The purpose of this study was to identify the effect of hydrotherapy on length of first stage of labor and analgesia use for the nulliparous woman in labor. A quasi-experimental design was used for this quantitative study. The researcher and labor and delivery nurses collected data throughout or after the labor experience of the convenience sample who met the following criteria: nulliparous, 37 to 42 weeks gestation, in established active labor, vertex presentation, singleton fetus, absence of major medical problems, uncomplicated pregnancy, and not requiring continuous fetal monitoring. There were forty-eight participants in the study. Thirty-three were in the experimental group and fifteen were in the control group.
The women in the experimental group were those who chose to use hydrotherapy as a means of pain relief/relaxation during the first stage of labor. The control group included those who chose not to use hydrotherapy as an intervention for pain relief/relaxation during the first stage of labor. Evaluation of cervical dilation was checked periodically according to physician and agency protocols for both groups. Evaluation of cervical dilation was also measured prior to and after use of hydrotherapy for those in the control group. Length of labor and analgesia use: type, amount and route was documented and statistically evaluated.
The data were compiled and statistical consultation was sought. The statistical significance was set at p = <.05. Two x two factorial analysis of variance designs were used to evaluate the difference in length of labor for hydrotherapy and epidural groups in labor and the difference in analgesia use for hydrotherapy and epidural groups in labor. There was a significant difference between length of labor for those who received an epidural and for the interaction of epidural therapy and hydrotherapy on length of labor. The women using neither hydrotherapy nor an epidural had the shortest labors, with the women who used an epidural and no hydrotherapy had the longest labors. There was a significant difference noted between analgesia use and epidural therapy. The women who selected epidural therapy had the most amount of analgesia used in labor.
This study had a small sample size. It would be beneficial to conduct further research to provide further information on the use of hydrotherapy in labor.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Labor (Obstetrics)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1998 Susan Schmanski. All rights reserved