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Minerva Ginecologica 2005 April;57(2):199-206

language: Italian

Water birth and neonatal infections. Experience with 1575 deliveries in water

Thöni A., Zech N., Moroder L.


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Aim. The aim of our study is to provide an answer on the advantages offered by water births, to compare them with 2 other delivery positions and to analyse the pathogenous microorganisms present in the water from the bath.
Methods. We compared 725 primiparae deliveries in water, 407 primiparae deliveries in bed and 142 on the delivery stool over the last 7 years. We evaluated the duration of labour, perineal trauma, arterial cord blood pH, shoulder dystocia and postpartum maternal hemoglobin levels. We have evaluated 200 water samples, taken from the bath after filling it and after delivery, and analyzed the pathogenous microorganisms and the possibility of neonatal infections.
Results. The duration (first stage) of labour and the rate of episiotomies was significantly reduced in primiparae delivering in water compared with the other delivery positions. Nevertheless, the percentage of perineal trauma was not increased. There were no differences in the duration of the second stage and arterial umbilical cord blood pH. Postpartum maternal hemoglobin levels remained unchanged. No woman delivering in the water required analgesics. Infections after water births do not occur more frequently than after traditional births.
Conclusion. Our results show that water birth has major advantages compared with traditional delivery methods. It is associated with a significantly shorter first stage of labour, a lower episiotomy rate and reduced analgesic requirements when compared with other delivery positions. Provided that the women are selected appropriately, and the hygiene rules are respected, water birth is safe for mother and neonate.

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