I’m Group B Strep (GBS) Positive. Can I have a Waterbirth?

GBS testing is not routinely offered to women in the UK.  This is because it is considered that the high rate of carriage compared to the low rate of infection means that the harm done to women and babies in offering antibiotics to every woman who is carrying GBS would outweigh the benefits.

However, some women do end up being tested for one reason or another, and those who find that they are carrying GBS are often then denied access to water during their birth (unless they’re at home, in which case it’s always the woman’s own decision). Aquabirths asks, “Is this a reasonable position for trusts to take?”.

Many trusts are open to women birthing in water and some are not, and within trusts some midwives or obstetricians will deny women access to the trust’s pools, and others will be completely happy to support women who want to use a pool for their birth. What’s going on?

There is limited data on the impact of waterbirth on how many babies born to women who are carrying GBS, but what data there is shows either a reduction in the numbers of babies born underwater who are infected with GBS, or no statistical difference, but with a trend towards a reduction in affected babies who are born underwater. This is despite the fact that the water in a pool birth could have high levels of GBS in it, and therefore the theory is that the water is essentially washing the baby and mother, providing some increased level of protection compared to babies born on dry land. (1)

An article by JS Cohain (2) states that infection with GBS was 1/4432 in babies born underwater v 1/1450 in babies born on land – that’s three times as many babies becoming infected with GBS when they’re born on land than babies born underwater! The article discusses the reasons for this, including considering whether it might be “a massively successful international campaign has covered up the reporting of all deaths and disease from GBS after waterbirths.” There’s nothing like covering all bases!

Even though the evidence on GBS and waterbirth is limited and more studies are needed, if the trend was the other way – that more babies seemed to be infected with GBS when born in water – there would be no doubt that there would be a huge push to try to ban birth in water! Given that the opposite is true, and the best data that we have shows a trend towards fewer babies being infected with GBS when they’re born under water, opening up water birth to women who have found that they’re carrying GBS is something that every birth centre and obstetric unit should support.

Article by Emma Ashworth.

Many thanks to Dianne Garland for her help with this article.

References:

(1) Springer Link, “Water birth: is the water an additional reservoir for group B streptococcus?” 

(2) Pubmed, “Waterbirth and GBS”

Further Reading:

AIMS GBS book, “Group B Strep Explained”

RCOG “Group B Strep and Waterbirth”

Practicing Midwife for the GBSS, “Waterbirth for women with GBS: a pipe dream?”

Dianne Garland’s book, “Revisiting Waterbirth” is due out in April or May 2017

Free BirthSoft Birthing Couch Kit

Aquabirths will include a free SoftBirth birthing couch kit with the Canberra, Venus and Heartshaped  models of our birth baths.  The SoftBirth birthing couch kit is usually £950 but is on offer at the moment at £795.  More details can be found at http://softbirth.com/ You can also copy-of-softbirth-birth-couchdownload their information flyer and spec sheet there too.  We’ve tried one out – it is very comfortable and unlike other couches, is not cumbersome and heavy.  The inter-changeable cushions make this a very flexible help for birthing and labouring mothers.  So, even if you’re not buying one of our birthing baths, you can still get it at the offer price.  http://softbirth.com/
couch-stool_01

Corner Baths

We’ve had a bit of a flurry of requests for corner baths, mainly from export customers, so we thought we’d better write a short blog on them.

The short answer is, ‘yes, we do make them.’ They are an excellent option where space is a bit tight but the hospital still want to give a birthing mum the option of a water birth.  Sometimes, corner baths are avoided as the midwives want to be able to access the woman from as many parts of the bath as possible.

Our Dunoon model birthing bath is ideally suited to being used in a corner.  It is already designed specifically to be compact and fit in smaller rooms but to still give a labouring woman plenty of room to move and keep active during birth.  It does this by virtue of its rounded rectangular shape and by using space wisely so that it still has the capacity of a birth.

The Dunoon can be fitted in any position and doesn’t have to go in a corner but if you let us know when ordering, we can include an extra piece of trim (at no cost) so that you can have a neat finish against the corner walls.

Dunoon compact birth pool

Compact Birth Bath for Labour and Post-partum Bathing

Bathing for labour and post-partum bathingAnother of our compact birthing baths for labour and post-partum bathing, the York model, is ready to go off to the Isle of Man.  With its verycompact birth bath modern  look, the York gives birth centres that luxury spa feel.  As with all Aquabirths pools, it is a one-piece construction for maximum strength and infection control as well as for ease of installation.

Midwives and waterbirth mums had a direct hand in this bath’s design, hence the broad rims and curves.  An additional feature they designed in was the excellent lumbar support.

Contact us for drawings, photos and offers for this birthing bath.

#Continuity2016

Ruth was at  continuity2016 and will be reporting more fully on her blog bornstroppy but in the meantime…

Two new baths ready for Abu Dhabi

The two new baths ready to be sent out to Abu Dhabi, shortly before being wrapped and crated.  A video tour / final inspection of the baths.  The steps and related equipment are boxed seperately.

What’s So Difficult About Continuity of Carer, #AIMStalk York

The full text of the speech ‘What’s So Difficult About Continuity of Carer’, given by Ruth Weston at #AIMStalk, York can be found via the link in the tweet.

 

 

AIMS Conference, York: What’s So Difficult About Continuity of Carer?

Ruth will be giving a speech at the AIMS Conference in York University  on the afternoon of Saturday 21st.  The text of it will be posted here but in the meantime…

 

 

Waterbirth Conference 2015

A packed-out conference on waterbirth and normality held in Shipley, with such speakers as Dianne Garland and consultant midwife Alison Brown.  A fuller report to follow but here are some of the tweets…

 

 

 

There was also the launch of BirthSoft for reasonably priced birth couches, mats, etc.

 

Beautiful Birth Room at Barrow

Best birth bath ever

Though I’m proud of our bath, this article is about Estates Management.

Furness General is part of the Morcambe Bay Trust and includes Lancaster Royal and the Westmorland (Kendal).  Lancaster had a Canberra bath in 2011, and Kendal in early 2014.

All works to the rooms (new flooring, lighting, fittings, etc) have been overseen by their Estate Manager, Paul Coward.  If you are wondering how to go about a refit of a birth room or the installation of a birthing pool, I’d recommend you have a word with Paul as we never have jobs that run smoother than his.

Whilst we offer an installation service, it is possible to hire our expert plumber for consultation, so that he can advise or work alongside your plumber on site.  And now, we also offer training in fitting our birthing pools and Aquabirths accredited plumbers would then be eligible for a 10% discount on our baths.