Skip to main content

Water birth: is the water an additional reservoir for group B streptococcus?

Abstract

Objective: Water birth became popular in the last years, despite the fact that many questions like the risk of infection for the newborn remain unanswered. Group B streptococcal (GBS) infections in the newborn remain a challenge in obstetrics and neonatology. Method: We conducted a prospective trial to study the impact of water birth on the colonization rate of the bath water and, more importantly, the GBS-colonization rate of the newborn. Result: After water birth the bath water was significantly more often colonized with GBS than after immersion followed by a delivery in bed. The newborns, however, showed no difference in GBS colonization and there was even a trend towards less GBS colonization of the newborn after a water delivery. Conclusion: Regarding GBS colonization of the newborn during water birth there might be a wash out effect, which protects the children during the delivery.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Alderdice F, Renfrew M, Garcia J, McCandlish R (1993) Labour and birth in water. Lancet 342:1563

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Alderdice F, Renfrew M, Marchant S, Ashurst H, Hughes P, Gerridge G, Garcia J (1995) Labour and birth in water in England and Wales. BMJ 310:837

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Bowden K, Kessler D, Pinette M, Wilson E (2003) Underwater birth: missing the evidence or missing the point? Pediatrics 112(4):972–973

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Brocklehurst P, Garcia J, Lumley J (1996) Birthing pools and infection control. Lancet 348:275

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Cluett E, Pickering R, Getliffe K, Saunders N (2004) Randomized controlled trial of labouring in water compared with standard of augmentation for management of dystocia in first stage of labour. BMJ. DOI 10.1136/bmj.37963.606412EE

  6. 6.

    Geissbühler V, Stein S, Eberhard J (2004) Waterbirths compared with landbirths: an observational study of nine years. J Perinat Med 32:308–314

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Gilbert R, Tookey P (1999) Perinatal mortality and morbidity among babies delivered in water: surveillance study and postal survey. BMJ 319:483–487

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Johnson P (1996) Birth under water—to breathe or not to breathe. BJOG 103:202–208

    MathSciNet  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Odent M (1983) Birth under water. Lancet 24/31:1476–1477

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Otigbah C, Dhanjal M, Harmsworth G, Chard T (2000) A retrospective comparison of water births and conventional vaginal deliveries. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 91:15–20

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Ridgway GL, Tedder RS (1996) Birthing pools and infection control. BMJ 347:1051–1052

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Roome A, Spencer R (1996) Birthing pools and infection control. Lancet 348:274

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Schuchat A (2000) Neonatal group B streptococcal disease—screening and prevention. NEJM 343:209–210

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Woodward J, Kelly S (2004) A pilot study for a randomized controlled trial of waterbirth versus land birth. BJOG 111:537–545

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to R. Zanetti-Dällenbach.

Additional information

The science fund of the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, provided financial support. There are no conflicts of interest to declare

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zanetti-Dällenbach, R., Lapaire, O., Maertens, A. et al. Water birth: is the water an additional reservoir for group B streptococcus?. Arch Gynecol Obstet 273, 236–238 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00404-005-0067-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Immersion
  • Water delivery
  • Group B streptococcus