What every mom-to-be should know about water births

Health officials have issued new guidelines for water births after two babies born at home in Arizona contracted Legionnaire’s disease. The infants recovered, but obstetricians who discourage underwater birth say the cases highlight the risks of this type of delivery. Those risks include drowning, infection and cord rupture.

The nation’s leading group of obstetricians says pregnant women can undergo labor safely in water, and that doing so provides benefits, including diminished pain and a reduced chance of a cesarean section. But the group recommends that mothers come out of the water for the delivery.

Proponents of underwater delivery — also known as hydrobirth — say it provides a less traumatic entry for babies who spent the last nine months floating in amniotic fluid.

Here’s a look at why water births are making headlines again, and what couples considering one should know.

Legionella in Arizona

In January 2016, a mother in Maricopa County, Arizona, gave birth to an infant at home, in a tub that had been cleaned with vinegar and tap water, then filled with tap water. Five minutes after the delivery, the midwife gave the baby a score of 9 out of 10 on the APGAR, the common test of how well a child is doing at one and five minutes after birth.

The next day, however, the parents took the baby to the emergency room, where the infant was diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease and a congenital heart problem.

Legionnaire’s is a form of pneumonia spread through water droplets. The bacteria that cause the disease are called Legionella, and they are commonly found in natural bodies of water, but they make people sick when they infiltrate plumbing and cooling systems, such as air-conditioning units, hot tubs and public fountains. People are infected when they inhale tiny drops of water, or if they …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

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