Water injections to relieve back pain in labour no longer ’midwifery voodoo’

Sterile water injections provide effective pain relief for women with labour back pain, according to University of Queensland-led research.

Dr Nigel Lee from the UQ School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work said the injections were previously seen as controversial but this study shows they are safe and effective.

“Some midwives have used this practice in order to provide pain relief for a number of years, however until now, there has always been limited research to suggest that it works, “Dr Lee said.

“In fact, many hospitals refused to support the procedure, viewing it as ‘midwifery voodoo’.

“This research provides definitive evidence that water injections offer effective pain relief for the majority of women with labour back pain.”

Data was collected between 2012 and 2017 in one British and 15 Australian maternity units.

“Water injections will not only be of benefit to women wanting to avoid pain relieving drugs during labour, but also where women have little or no access to pain relief during childbirth, such as home birth and countries with developing health systems,” Professor Kildea said.

This research was a collaboration between UQ, Charles Darwin University, University of Skövde and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The study is published in The Lancet journal EClinicalMedicine (DOI.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100447).


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