Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Texas Infant Dies of Legionnaires' Disease After 'Water Birth'


Though health officials couldn't confirm source of infection, they warn of dangers of practice

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WebMD News from HealthDay

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new report on a Texas infant who died from Legionnaires' disease after being born in a whirlpool tub highlights the potential dangers of having a "water birth."

It's not clear if the baby was infected with the respiratory illness via the well water in the tub where the infant was born, according to the report. Still, Texas health officials have since warned midwives statewide about the risks of water birth.

"The risk of infection varies depending on the stage of labor in which water birth is utilized but any process or procedure that has the potential to introduce a microorganism into a person poses a serious risk for infection or disease," said report author Elyse Fritschel, an epidemiologist with the Texas Department of State Health Services. "Health care providers should do everything they can to ensure conditions that reduce or eliminate the risk of infection."

One expert said that water births are very rare in the United States, with an estimated 4,000 of the 4 million annual births taking place this way.

"Some of these water births occur at the family's home, either in their own bathtub or in a rental-type tub," said Michelle Collins, director of the Nurse-Midwifery Program at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, in Nashville, Tenn. "Others occur in birth centers and hospitals in tubs made especially for repeated patient use wherein strict cleaning protocols are set in place."

Advocates of water birth say it leads to a less painful and more relaxing birth. But critics warn about the increased risk of infection.

In a joint statement earlier this year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics expressed skepticism about water birth: "Undergoing the early stages of labor in a birthing pool may offer some advantages to pregnant women. However, underwater delivery has no proven benefit to women or babies and may even pose a risk of serious health problems for the newborn."

The Texas baby, whose gender was not disclosed, appeared at a hospital in January 2014 with symptoms including loose feces and respiratory failure. The infant, who was born in a whirlpool-style tub full of well water that hadn't been chemically disinfected, died after 19 days in the hospital of Legionnaires' disease.

source : Texas Infant Dies of Legionnaires' Disease After 'Water Birth'

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