The National Health Service (NHS) England is advising that expectant mothers not use certain home birthing pools due to possibly exposing the infant to Legionella bacteria.
This advisory was made after a baby was infected with Legionella and had to go into intensive care. Test results are pending from water samples taken from the heated birthing pool.
The temporary ban posed by Public Health England does not, however, include the majority of home birthing pools which are filled using domestic hot water systems during labor. According to an article from BBC, these pools do not have the same risk. The risk with birthing pools occurs when the pool is filled before labor and kept warm using a heater and pump.
These heated pools have been recalled as a result of the potential harm.
Professor Nick Phin, the head of Legionnaires’ disease at Public Health England, said “this is an extremely unusual situation” and that it was being taken very seriously.
According to Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, “Women planning birth at home using a traditional pool that is filled when the woman is in labour or using a fixed pool in an NHS unit are not affected by this alert and should not be concerned. Birthing pools in hospitals are subject to stringent infection control procedures and monitoring. Home birthing pools filled during labour come with disposable liners and are only in place for a relatively short time period, reducing opportunity for bacterial growth.
“Any women with concerns about using home birthing pools should contact their midwife or local maternity unit.”
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