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Study Finds “Clear Medical Advantages of Water Birthing”

Posted Nov 04 2010 12:00am

Both of my children were born in birthing tubs . The experience of transitioning from the aquatic environment of the womb to body temperature water seems so logical and natural. Of course, what may seem logical and natural to me (and countless other mothers and midwives) does not necessarily mean it is so; however, a recent study has concluded:

Published in Minerva Ginecol, an Italian medical journal, “ Water birthing: retrospective review of 2625 water births. Contamination of birth pool water and risk of microbial cross-infection ” studied births occurring in Vipiteno, located in northern Italy.  Water birth outcomes were compared to “normal vaginal delivery”.

One area researchers looked closely at was the “microbial load of the birth pool water”, including the release of fecal matter into the birthing tub.  Bacterial samples both before and after birth were analyzed and neonatal infection rates compared to land births.

Despite microbial contamination of birth pool water during delivery, antibiotic prophylaxis, as indicated by clinical and laboratory suspicion of infection, was administered to only 0.98% of babies after water birth versus 1.64% of those after land delivery…

During expulsion of the fetus at delivery, fecal matter is released into the birth pool water, contaminating it with micro-organisms. Despite this, water birthing was found to be safe for the neonate and did not carry a higher risk of neonatal infection when compared with conventional vaginal delivery.

This scientific study only confirms what water birthing mothers know from experience.   Ms Pugmire of the Manawatu Home Birth Association explains, “The water is absolutely amazing. I’ve never met anyone who birthed in water and considered birthing any other way.”  I have to agree!

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