Water birth worries - FOX 35 News Orlando

Water birth worries

Posted: Updated:

By LAURAN NEERGAARD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sitting in a tub of warm water can relieve a mom-to-be's pain during the early stages of labor, but actually giving birth under water has no proven benefit and may be risky, say recommendations for the nation's obstetricians.

There's no count of how many babies in the U.S. are delivered in water, but it is increasingly common for hospitals to offer birthing pools or tubs to help pregnant women relax during labor.

In a report released Thursday, a distinction is made between the two uses, saying that early on immersion may be helpful, as long as some basic precautions are taken.

But there has been little scientific study of underwater delivery, along with a handful of reports over the past decade or so of near-drownings and other risks to the infant, said the joint opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Although complications appear to be rare, the report urges that underwater deliveries be performed only in research studies to settle the questions.

"Laboring in water is not the same as delivering under water," said co-author Dr. Jeffrey Ecker of Harvard University, adding that he's cared for numerous women comforted by immersion during labor.

As for delivery, "We want people to do more research," added ACOG committee member Dr. Aaron Caughey of Oregon Health & Science University.

In fact, midwives at Caughey's hospital perform several dozen underwater deliveries a year and are collecting data on how mothers and babies fare, said Cathy Emeis, a certified nurse-midwife at the Oregon university. She cautioned that the numbers are small but so far don't show increased risks.

Pregnant women interested in a water birth at the Oregon facility are required to take a special class and sign a consent form, Emeis said.

"We always acknowledge to our patients that there is not a lot of high-quality evidence that shows there's a benefit to birthing under water," she said.

Thursday's recommendations aren't binding. Birthing in warm water, which proponents say simulates the uterine environment, has been an option for several decades, although more women use it for early labor than delivery, said Tina Johnson of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

"I don't know that this statement will necessarily change women's desire for that option," said Johnson, whose organization is drafting its own guidelines.

The report recommends that hospitals or birth centers choose low-risk candidates for immersion during labor, keep tubs clean, monitor women appropriately and be able to move them out of the water quickly if a problem occurs.

It says potential risks of underwater delivery include infection, difficulty regulating the baby's body temperature and respiratory distress if the baby inhales water.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Cuomo orders investigation into Time Warner outage

    Cuomo orders investigation into Time Warner outage

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 12:48 PM EDT2014-08-27 16:48:25 GMT
    Time Warner Cable suffered a nationwide outage primarily impacting its Internet service on Wednesday morning. More than 11 million customers were affected.  Several hours later, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation into the outage. "I have directed the New York State Department of Public Service to investigate this outage as part of its review of Comcast's proposed merger with Time Warner," said Cuomo.
    Time Warner Cable suffered a nationwide outage primarily impacting its Internet service on Wednesday morning. More than 11 million customers were affected.  Several hours later, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation into the outage. "I have directed the New York State Department of Public Service to investigate this outage as part of its review of Comcast's proposed merger with Time Warner," said Cuomo.
  • Attractive players in tennis, help or hurt?

    Attractive players in tennis, help or hurt?

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 12:28 PM EDT2014-08-27 16:28:31 GMT
    The U.S. Open is underway in Queens and there's no denying that many of the players, both men and women, are in great physical shape and know how to play that up. Women are particularly promoted in the industry as attractive, fashionable and fiercely competitive. Does that help the game and draw more people in?
    The U.S. Open is underway in Queens and there's no denying that many of the players, both men and women, are in great physical shape and know how to play that up. Women are particularly promoted in the industry as attractive, fashionable and fiercely competitive. Does that help the game and draw more people in?
  • Man kills wife, wounds self at NJ hospital

    Man kills wife, wounds self at NJ hospital

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-08-27 15:50:16 GMT
    Authorities say a man fatally shot his wife and wounded himself at a hospital in southern New Jersey. Camden County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Jason Laughlin says the shooting happened Wednesday at Kennedy University Hospital in Stratford. The man was being treated for his injuries.
    Authorities say a man fatally shot his wife and wounded himself at a hospital in southern New Jersey. Camden County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Jason Laughlin says the shooting happened Wednesday at Kennedy University Hospital in Stratford. The man was being treated for his injuries.

Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices