Sterile Water Injections

Sterile Water Injections

Have you ever heard of these magical babies?

Sting like a bee…to float like a butterfly…

These dermal injections work on gateway theory – (what is gateway theory I hear you ask?) –>  your brain can only register so much feedback at a given time. When our brain is overloaded with stimulus from another source (i.e. NOT the source of our original sensation – pain), it reduces the number of nerves carrying messages from the original source. Because less of these nerves are carrying pain sensations to the brain the brain registers less pain. It is now receiving messages from the new source and whatever message they are carrying. The use of sterile water rather than sodium chloride or other substances is used as it is not as easily absorbed by the body thereby stinging significantly when introduced. The process of causing intense stinging brings the brains attention away from the discomfort felt prior to use. Rather than ongoing though, these injections hurt on insertion and then settle. The nerves will continue to carry messages from this area for a period of time though, which can result in pain relief lasting for 1-3hrs.


0.1-0.3mls are inserted just under the skin at 4 points, indicated on the picture, ideally by 2 midwives to hasten the procedure.


  • Instant results
  • Perfect for posterior labours when back pain is overwhelming
  • Can be repeated frequently


  • Stings +++
  • Unlikely to work in labour unless baby is posterior
  • Unlikely to work for intense pushing sensation
  • Should avoid touching back for next few surges to encourage work
  • Duration of effect varies

Want to read about other options?

Read more about acupressure here, or epidurals here.

Alternatively check out our class options to get a whole toolkit for your disposal during your labour and birth, including HYPNOBIRTHING…

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