Are water births safe?

Pregnant women in Greenville may be interested in having a water birth. This entails giving birth into a pool or bath of warm water, usually within the home of the pregnant woman and her family. Parents explains some of the risk associated with water births so that women can make an informed decision about their labor.


This birthing method requires water to be between 95- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature dips too low the baby is at risk of developing pneumonia, as contaminants and bacteria in the tub will be active. Pneumonia usually develops a day or two after the birth and can be deadly for some babies. Respiratory problems can also be caused by meconium aspiration, which occurs when the baby inhales amniotic fluid contaminated by fecal matter.


Contaminated water can also cause infections. During the birthing process water can become contaminated by feces, which is then swallowed or inhaled by the baby. The risk occurs as the baby’s head is being delivered, which is when the first breath is usually taken. If the head is underwater, the baby runs the risk of ingesting these contaminants, which can cause serious health issues.


Women interested in home births must be properly screened to assess their risk. When complications occur, a baby experiences a greater risk of drowning, as his head may be stuck underwater during the birth. While the midwives and other medical professionals are trained to anticipate this risk, women with high-risk pregnancies are encouraged to give birth within a hospital setting.

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