4 doctors weighed in:

Is there a medical reason not to have a water birth?

4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Patrick Weix
Obstetrics & Gynecology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Yes

A water birth puts a baby at unneeded risk without providing any benefit.
To be blunt, the water will become contaminated with fecal matter which the baby can aspirate. This has resulted in neonatal deaths. The diving reflex often postulated to prevent this only occurs in cold water. Laboring in warm water can be helpful to moms trying for a drug-free birth, but please deliver in chair or bed.

In brief: Yes

A water birth puts a baby at unneeded risk without providing any benefit.
To be blunt, the water will become contaminated with fecal matter which the baby can aspirate. This has resulted in neonatal deaths. The diving reflex often postulated to prevent this only occurs in cold water. Laboring in warm water can be helpful to moms trying for a drug-free birth, but please deliver in chair or bed.
Dr. Patrick Weix
Dr. Patrick Weix
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1 comment
Dr. Patrick Weix
Thankfully, they are rare. And when I said "without providing any benefit", I was referring to medical benefit to the fetus. A review of a specific case with references to the literature is here: http://journals.lww.com/amjforensicmedicine/Abstract/2010/09000/Forensic_Issues_in_Cases_of_Water_Birth_Fatalities.14.aspx
1 doctor agrees

In brief: No

Water birth is not dangerous as long as the baby is brought out of the water after birth.
Do not hold the baby under the water after it is born. It may continue to get oxygen from the placenta, but can still inhale water and be injured from this. Many women find waterbirth relaxing and it can be done safely.

In brief: No

Water birth is not dangerous as long as the baby is brought out of the water after birth.
Do not hold the baby under the water after it is born. It may continue to get oxygen from the placenta, but can still inhale water and be injured from this. Many women find waterbirth relaxing and it can be done safely.
Dr. Nicholas Fogelson
Dr. Nicholas Fogelson
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