The warning against water births came from the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), after they reported that a baby who was delivered in a hot tub developed sepsis a week after being born.
The baby girl, who was born healthy, was admitted to hospital eight days later, with a high fever. After being transferred to intensive care, the newborn was diagnosed with blood poisoning and treated with antibiotics.
Thankfully she got better and managed to survive, after spending five weeks on a ventilator in intensive care.
The case led Canadian researchers to issue a warning about water births, who said this story served as a ‘severe and potentially fatal adverse neonatal outcome of underwater birth, especially when prefilled heated pools are used’.
However, experts in the UK have now reassured pregnant women that water births at NHS birthing units are completely safe, and that the risks associated with this case are mostly due to the fact that the baby was delivered in standing water.
NHS water birth are still completely safe, say UK experts
Speaking to HuffPost UK, Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust and Global Sepsis Alliance said: ‘This frightening case highlights the importance of safe clean birth.
‘The risks associated with standing water, particularly that which is repeatedly heated and cooled, certainly include bacteria breeding in the water and therefore we increase the risk of infection whenever we enter the water.
‘But within the NHS, water births are offered in pools that are filled specifically for each birth and are specially temperature controlled. Provided they are carried out in that environment then water births continue to be a safe and popular means of delivery.’
The hot tub where the baby girl in question was delivered had been filled three days before the delivery.