You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Water births come under fire

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his wife Gisele Bundchen with their son Benjamin Brady in August.

Charles Krupa/AP

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his wife Gisele Bundchen with their son Benjamin Brady in August.

Continue reading below

Gisele Bundchen delivered her and Tom Brady’s son, Benjamin, at home three years ago while submerged in a water bath. She said in media interviews that the drug-free birth didn’t hurt at all. Actresses Jennifer Connelly and Pamela Anderson also swear by home water births. But two prominent physician groups issued a new recommendation on Thursday advising against the practice, except in very controlled conditions.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists concluded that soaking in a tub of water during the early part of labor can reduce a woman’s pain and might shorten labor and the need for an epidural or other painkillers. But the two groups frowned on women staying submerged during the final pushing stage of labor because the “safety and efficacy” of delivering a baby into a pool of water “have not been established.”

The committee of pediatricians and obstetricians pointed to a list of worries doctors have about underwater deliveries, including the possibility of infections in both mother and baby from contaminated water, a dangerous rise in the baby’s temperature from hot water, umbilical cord rupture after delivery that triggers shock or breathing problems in the baby — or even the rare possibility of drowning. D.K.

Deborah Kotz can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.
Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of