A water birth is an alternative method of birthing, where a mother delivers her child in a bathtub or special water birthing tub instead of in a traditional hospital setting. Being surrounded by warm water is supposed to help calm the mother and baby down, and make delivery easier and less painful. Live Science reports that the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are now saying that there are no benefits to engaging in a water birth, and that babies should be born in hospitals in case there is an unexpected complication.
The Huffington Post reports that there have been several cases of infant drowning, breathing problems due to inhaled water, and infections from water births. Dr. Tonse Raju, chief of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, worked on the new report and says that women should not be having water births unless they are part of a clinical trial in a controlled setting. Baths may be good for soothing a mother during labor, but the actual birthing should not take place in a tub, says Raju.