Although there is still much that needs to be researched, it’s safe to say that mothers and babies have never been safer during the birthing process. Thankfully, doctors know more about the precautions that need to be taken and they are armed with knowledge. Accordingly, for women living in first world countries, they have the advantage of being safe and having their baby be safe from avoidable harm.
And yet, despite the best hospitals, some women are opting to give birth the old-fashioned way — in their home. These women are choosing to go through this process with less medication and with lots of support from their family and loved ones. I’m not sure why — I don’t even want my family around when I’m trying to relax let alone when I’m trying to get a baby out of me, but that’s just me….
These women enjoy the comfort of their home and their bed and find it easier to give birth this way. Now, some women are taking the whole giving birth at home a step further. They are opting for a water birth.
Now, doctors have no problem with water births. They believe it’s safe for “uncomplicated pregnancies.” “The theory behind water birth,” The American Pregnancy Association explains, “is that since the baby has already been in the amniotic fluid sac for nine months, birthing in a similar environment is gentler for the baby and less stressful for the mother.”
But, there is a serious risk when it comes to water births. A report by the CDC shows that “neglecting one small detail — where the water comes from — can make water births deadly for newborns.” This is what happened to two separate newborns.
The Washington Postreports that the newborns contracted Legionnaires’ disease. The latter is a type of “infectious pneumonia that affects the lungs and can be fatal for young children or the elderly.” Legionella bacteria is inhaled and it is strongest in warm and hot water.
This form of bacteria is commonly found in air conditioning units. It’s also found in hot tubs. Now, a birthing pool filled with hot or warm water is also an ideal environment for this type of bacteria.
Usually, people who come in contact with this type of bacteria are not affected. This is because we would have already developed a strong immune system. For a newborn, however, with no immune system, contact with the bacteria can be deadly.
This is what happened to the two newborns in Arizona. Their body couldn’t combat the bacteria and they got sick. Luckily, both newborns were fine as they were treated with antibiotics but it’s not something you want a newborn to go through, especially as it’s a risk you can avoid.
This is why it’s so important for parents to ensure all precautions are taken to keep their newborn safe. This isn’t a random checklist. It’s one that could mean the difference between a happy new chapter or a tragic one.
The birthing tub must be sanitized before anyone gives birth in there. It’s important that you test the water for legionella bacteria. To do this, use sterilized water or try and sterilize your tap water.
For some women, water births are ideal when compared to giving birth in a hospital. Water births do have their advantages, and an expectant mother has the right to decide the way she wants to give birth. However, it’s critical that whatever her decision is, avoidable risks should be kept at bay for the newborn to be welcomed in the safest possible environment.