Baby almost dies of infection because mother gave birth in a hot tub!

Baby almost dies of infection because mother gave birth in a hot tub!

A newborn girl had a life-threatening bacterial infection from her water birth in a hot tub. And she almost died...

A baby in Ontario, Canada developed a serious rash within days of her birth. The reason, she contracted a near-fatal infection from the water in which she was born. And this was because her mother decided to give birth at home in a hot tub.

The story

According to the report, the baby was born healthy at full term. However, within days, she had difficulty feeding and was fussy. Soon, she contracted high fever and was rushed to a hospital. She was merely 8 days old when she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit as her organs were failing.

She had sepsis - a serious bacterial infection of the blood. This infection, caused by Legionella bacterium, was almost life-threatening. Luckily, it was diagnosed in time and she received antibiotics for the infection. However, if she was not brought to the hospital in time, it would have been a disaster.

On investigating the source of the infection, it was found that the hot tub was the culprit. Not only is hot water suitable for a rapid multiplication of bacteria, the hot tub was also filled up a few days before delivery. The mother probably thought it would be easier that way as she was near term and could enter labour anytime. However, the stored water facilitated a growth of this dangerous bacteria.

What the experts think about this

This case was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal a few days back. The doctors have always warned against birth in a hot tub due to events like this.

Yes, water birth is preferred by some mums as it eases pain and may make the labour less painful and stressful. In addition, the data for or against this is insufficient. That said, due to odd events like these and some serious complications seen with water birth, doctors maintain that a "child should be born on land, not water."

Water birth in Singapore

Home births are not legally allowed in Singapore according to some experts. So, complications like these happening are a bit rare.

There is an increasing trend in wanting to give a natural birth. A natural birth, by definition, is when you choose not to take any medicines to ease the pain or quicken the delivery. In such cases, a waterbirth is an option worth exploring. 

So, if you are determined to explore this, National University Hospital is your best bet. It is one of the best hospitals in Asia and they have a pool meant for just this. You can give birth in water or undergo water immersion and then give birth on the table. The good thing about this is that it is done under medical supervision, the pool is cleaned by professionals, and your obstetrician will ensure that your pregnancy is suitable for this type of birth.

It does help relax the mother and eases the pain of contractions. I am a big fan of epidurals, but if you are not planning to use any kind of pain relief, you will find that water birth helps. 

There is a huge disclaimer here. Don't try anything on your own at home without a proper medical advice/supervision. The mum did it and almost lost her baby. So, explore your options and choose the one that is best for your baby and you.


Also, read 5 seemingly harmless signs and symptoms that are not so innocent

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Written by

Anay Bhalerao

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