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Are water births safe? Experts disagree greatly

Are you an expecting parent-to-be?  If so, have you considered how you want your child to be delivered?  If you’re unsure how to answer either these questions then you’re not alone.  A lot of mothers across the nation, including many here in Arizona, have these same questions as well as the same concerns about which method of delivery is the safest for their specific situation.  In today’s blog post, we wanted to focus specifically on water births and what dangers this form of delivery can bring with it.

For those who may not know, WebMD defines a water birth as a delivery method that is conducted in a bathtub or pool of usually warm water.  An attending physician or midwife usually stands nearby and assists the mother during the birthing process.  They are also responsible for bringing the baby to the surface after the birth.  Although a water birth might be performed at a hospital and a doctor is present, our readers should not mistake this to mean that all doctors believe this method to be safe.

As a group of doctors pointed out recently in an opinion that was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, some doctors have noted individual cases in which there have been drownings or near-drownings even though there was a doctor or midwife present. And although many midwives insist that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that water immersion births are safe, many doctors disagree and say there simply is not enough “good evidence” to support this claim.

Just like with a standard birth performed in a hospital, water births may still carry the risk of birth injuries. And as we just pointed out, there is also the risk of drowning as well. It’s because of these dangers that our Phoenix readers should be aware of the fact that they may be entitled to compensation, especially if the attending physician or midwife was negligent during the birth of their child. And while this does not settle the debate over whether such a birthing technique is safe, it does at least give our readers some idea of what they can do in the event their child suffers a birth injury.

Source: NPR, “Doctors Say Don't Give Birth To Baby In A Tub, But Midwives Disagree,” Nancy Shute, March 23, 2014

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