Birthing pools and Legionnaires’ disease

Released on: 23 June 2014

Public Health England (PHE) has temporarily advised against the home use of birthing pools with built-in heaters and recirculation pumps, potentially filled up to 2 weeks in advance of the birth, after a case of Legionnaires’ disease identified in a baby born in this specific type of pool. In response, Rosemary Dodds, Senior Policy Adviser, NCT, says:

“Birth pools are usually very safe. It’s quite right that proper precautions are taken in this case, but the recall and warning only apply to pools which are filled in advance and kept heated. The evidence, and the NICE guidelines, state that warm water can help reduce labour pain and mean that women are less likely to need an epidural.”