Gut flora and waterbirths . . . - Mothering Forums

Gut flora and waterbirths . . .

LovinLiviLou's Avatar LovinLiviLou (TS)
02:10 AM Liked: 0
#1 of 8
01-07-2009 | Posts: 474
Joined: Aug 2004
I'm interested in a possible connection/linkage between waterbirths and less than desirable gut flora in newborns. I know that may not be a popular thought, but I've been wrestling with DD#2's health issues (which I think all go back to not receiving good gut flora at birth) for her entire 2 1/2 years of life, and I continue to wonder if her being born into water could have affected it.

I did take one round of antibiotics in my second trimester, but I also did lots of probiotics and kefir/yogurt after that. So, the antibiotics definately could have affected it, but she's in a BAD place with the gut flora, and I keep going back to if there was more to the cause than just that one round of abx . . . She had no vax or drops at birth (and I had no meds at birth), so the only potential issues I can come up with are the earlier abx or the water birth. for what it is worth, I have an older daughter who is perfectly healthy (and was a vaginal/non-med birth but not in water).

anyway, I'm interested in thoughts or experiences . . .
desertpenguin's Avatar desertpenguin
02:16 AM Liked: 10
#2 of 8
01-07-2009 | Posts: 2,066
Joined: Apr 2005
yk, i have honestly wondered about this as well. just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone in wondering.
Panserbjorne's Avatar Panserbjorne
02:20 AM Liked: 66
#3 of 8
01-07-2009 | Posts: 11,992
Joined: Sep 2003
just out of are you evaluating that gut flora is an issue? Not saying it's not, of course. Just wondering how you are determining that the flora was compromised by birth, or even that it's the primary issue?

For my anecdotal portion all my kids were unmedicated births. All had issues to one extent or another. My second (dd) is the worst off (no water birth, but born at home no meds in pregnancy and she has never had any) and my third (ds) is not in her league at all and it was a waterbirth at home. Again no meds in pregnancy there, either. Basically it's the same picture (no meds pre-pregnancy, in pregnancy or after for mom or baby) but one water birth and one on dry land.
LovinLiviLou's Avatar LovinLiviLou (TS)
12:51 AM Liked: 0
#4 of 8
01-14-2009 | Posts: 474
Joined: Aug 2004
Originally Posted by Panserbjørne View Post
just out of are you evaluating that gut flora is an issue? Not saying it's not, of course. Just wondering how you are determining that the flora was compromised by birth, or even that it's the primary issue?
Totally realizing all things "leaky gut" and "gut flora" related are the subject of much debate, here goes . . .

She had major food intolerances from the start (via my diet through breastfeeding) presenting themselves as skin issues (rashes and hives), digestive issues (vomiting and bm issues), and developmental issues. Obviously I had a leaky gut if the proteins were getting into the milk, and things improved as I went on a severe elimination diet. It was hit or miss all the time I was nursing, including bouts on SCD, FAILSAFE, and other diets. We did stabalize on a pretty severe diet restriction protocol, but as she started solids (while still nursing), it became clear there was more to it than what I had previously isolated in my diet.

13 months ago we stumbled our way into the world of oxalates, and discovered that to be a huge issue for her. She has made major gains on a lower oxalate diet with the use of lots of probiotics and enzymes. We still avoid dairy, gluten, and soy along with the low oxalate parameters, but she at least is growing and speaking now. There isn't a lot of research on oxalates, but of what exists, there is a fair amount showing correlation between the lack of certain intestinal bacteria and the inability to degrade oxalates, so I do think that is an issue for her.

Not sure if that answered your question of not, but hopefully so! I spent many hours here at mdc in the early days reading on the "healing the gut" tribe and learning from many helpful mamas! I don't suspect that the waterbirth was the only issue going on (clearly if I had a leaky gut after birth I didn't have all the good bugs I could have/should have), but I do wonder if it contributed.
Jane's Avatar Jane
12:58 AM Liked: 74
#5 of 8
01-14-2009 | Posts: 6,956
Joined: May 2002
I think that waterbirth is a great way to make sure baby gets a gut bacteria bath. It's way less "sterile" than a land birth. The water is just the right temperature to allow bacteria to survive. Most women pass some stool in the pushing phase, often over the hour preceding birth.
One thing that is interesting to me is the process by which babies get mouth bacteria, and how each of us has our own mix of types and amounts. Even 50 year married folks keep their own separate bacterial mouth gardens. Babies don't get their own adult types until the first teeth are there as a gummy mouth isn't the right type to support them. But almost universally, they get their mother's bacteria, in type and amount.
I think I recall that gut bacteria is the same - that we don't adapt an adult type flora until not on a milk only diet. That puts the important moments far removed from the birth.

Sometimes we're just unlucky, too. My mother is so sorry that I got her arthritis. I don't feel picked on, but she feels guilty. It's luck of the draw sometimes.
kangaroomum25's Avatar kangaroomum25
01:23 AM Liked: 0
#6 of 8
01-14-2009 | Posts: 864
Joined: Jun 2007
The only thing I'm slightly worried about is the flouride/chlorine/chloramines in the water. So I'm thinking about filtering and adding vitamin c (since that's supposed to neutralise the chloramines that filters have a hard time getting out)
tinuviel_k's Avatar tinuviel_k
05:41 AM Liked: 271
#7 of 8
01-14-2009 | Posts: 3,290
Joined: Apr 2004
We had a water birth for our daughter and have had absolutely zero gut/gut flora issues. She is five years old now.
jinxymama's Avatar jinxymama
04:06 PM Liked: 33
#8 of 8
09-18-2013 | Posts: 119
Joined: Jan 2013
I know this is an old thread, but I've been wondering the same thing about my 4 y/o DD's water birth, too. She has had some significant gut issues (which we're still addressing) throughout her short life, and it just dawned on me that maybe the water birth was to blame? Unlike the thread starter, I didn't receive any antibiotics during this pregnancy. I did, however, poop in the water shortly before she was born. I know that mom's vaginal bacteria is vital to populating a newborn's gut flora, but the water birth (and the poop in the water) makes me wonder if she didn't receive what she was supposed to at birth...

Also, I did have another water birth 2 years later, and my 2nd DD (almost 2 y/o) doesn't have any gut flora issues, at least none that are evident yet. (DD1's gut problems can be traced back to 2-3 months old, now that i know better). However I DID have antibiotics in my 3rd tri with her (for a pesky staph infection) but I DID NOT poop in the tub with her birth. Sorry for the TMI... But it's vital to the scenario.

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