Water birth: is the water an additional reservoir for group B streptococcus?

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2006 Jan;273(4):236-8. doi: 10.1007/s00404-005-0067-1. Epub 2005 Oct 6.


Objective: Water birth became popular in the last years, despite the fact that many questions like the risk of infection for the newborn remain unanswered. Group B streptococcal (GBS) infections in the newborn remain a challenge in obstetrics and neonatology.

Method: We conducted a prospective trial to study the impact of water birth on the colonization rate of the bath water and, more importantly, the GBS-colonization rate of the newborn.

Result: After water birth the bath water was significantly more often colonized with GBS than after immersion followed by a delivery in bed. The newborns, however, showed no difference in GBS colonization and there was even a trend towards less GBS colonization of the newborn after a water delivery.

Conclusion: Regarding GBS colonization of the newborn during water birth there might be a wash out effect, which protects the children during the delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Baths / adverse effects*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / adverse effects
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immersion*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / isolation & purification*
  • Water Microbiology*