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


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.

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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

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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).

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  • Immersion
  • Water delivery
  • Group B streptococcus