Are Water Births Safe?

A new study says the trendy birthing method may be risky and should be considered experimental.
3:00 | 03/21/14

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Transcript for Are Water Births Safe?
Water births are becoming more popular thanks to the celebrity mops choosing to have their babies underwater but a new study says they may be risky and should be considered experimental. ABC's linsey Davis has the latest. Reporter: The babies of top model did Gisele bundchen, Jennifer Connelly, "Baywatch" celeb Pamela Anderson and Alyson Hannigan all made a big splash upon entering the world after their mothers opted to deliver them while submerged in water. Ricki lake is so passionate about water birthing she even created a documentary called "The business of being born" where she shared her personal experience with underwater deliveries. But is it safe? Both the American college of obstetricians and gynecologists and the American academy of pediatrics are now issuing guidelines cautioning women that water burs can cause higher risks of infections, a higher chance of umbilical cord damage, breathing problems resulting from the baby inhaling tub water, even seizures. There are always chances of complications in a hospital in a birth center or at home. In my opinion with good informed concept it's still a completely viable option for women to choose to be in the water during labor. Reporter: It says spending early labor in water may decrease pain or quicken delivery but that's all. Their words, there is no evidence that immersion during the first stage of labor improves delivery or the baby's health. Being in the water allows women to be comfortable and if they are comfortable and feel safe they're going to have good outcops and be more satisfied with. Reporter: This new data leaving moms questioning whether it's worth the splash. Linsey Davis, ABC news, new York. And our senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton also ob/gyn joins us with her perspective. I think we should file it under just because it's natural doesn't make it safe. There are definitely risks to both the mother and the baby of delivering underwater. We have very limited data and in my opinion, until we grow gills like a fish, I think that baby should come out breathing air on dry land. It's clear you hate this. But is there any safe way to do it. There is and you have to uncouple, George, labor and delivery. I have no problem with a woman being in water in a shower or tub during labor if they're having an uncomplicated pregnancy and uncomplicated labor but when the baby needs to come out, you know, things can get really serious really quickly in a big way and two lives are at stake and you want to keep your eye on the prize here, it's healthy baby, healthy mother and if something goes wrong you have to ask yourself was that worth it? So what do you suggest to somebody hearing all this and they're still going, I want to do it? What do you suggest? You though what, I would say talk to your ob/gyn, talk to your midwife and ask how many types have they done it? Are they comfortable? What provisions are in place if something goes wrong and like anything weigh the risks, the benefits and the options. Why do you think people want to do this? I was going to ask that. Why would you want to do that. They have a mermaid fantasy. I think we have sometimes in popular culture a glamorized view of labor and delivery in a Hollywood celebrity way and we have to remember most of the time, yes, things turn out fine, it's a natural thing, but emergencies do occur and sometimes they occur very unexpectedly and then you really want to have all your guns loaded ready to deal with that and you can't do that underwater. Well, fair enough. Good advice. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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