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Birth Pool Infection Warning: Are You Clued Up?

A specific type of birth pool has been recalled after a newborn baby caught Legionnaire’s Disease – a serious lung infection

NHS England and Public Health England (PHE) have issued a warning about using birth pools that have built-in heaters and recirculation pumps.

It comes after a newborn baby caught Legionnaire’s Disease and is now in a serious condition in intensive care.

Samples of water taken from the heated birthing pool used by the mother have confirmed that legionella bacteria – which causes Legionnaire’s Disease – were present.

‘This is an extremely unusual situation, which we are taking very seriously,’ said Professor Nick Phin, from Public Health England.

‘As a precaution, we advise that heated birthing pools, filled in advance of labour and where the temperature is then maintained by use of a heater and pump, are not used in the home setting, while we investigate further and until definitive advice on disinfection and safety is available.’

Experts have said that most birthing pools used at home are filled from domestic hot water systems at the time of labour so won’t pose the same risk and were not included in the alert. However, they did say it was important that midwives and all local authorities in the UK are contacted to see if they use these particular pools.

"We advise that heated birthing pools, filled in advance of labour and where the temperature is maintained with a heater and pump, are not used in the home"

The pools that PHE have warned about are often delivered a fortnight before your expected due date, filled from your mains hot water supply and then the water is kept warmed using a pump and heater until labour and delivery, with the companies recommending various disinfection regimes.

If you’ve hired a birth pool and are worried, speak to your midwife, or the company you hired it from, to make sure it doesn’t pose a risk.

Did you have a water birth? Let us know below.

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