Mayo Clinic Health System to no longer provide underwater births

Mayo no longer performing submerged births effective September 1st

Mayo Clinic Health System will no longer be providing a certain form of child delivery.

The healthcare provider announced today it will stop performing water births on September 1st. The decision comes after recent reports of rare but serious adverse effects in newborns delivered under water.

MCHS says they understand some people will be upset, but safety for the newborn was their biggest concern.

“We do know that we have significant passion about this subject, not just from the patients but some of our providers,” said Dr. Gokhan Anil. “I know this is a disappointing decision for them, and we still would like to attract and make sure that patients prefer to deliver in our hospitals and our locations by our providers because we want to provide them the safest care.”

Mayo says they’ll still offer immersion services during the early stages of labor, but the actual delivery of the baby will be done outside of the water.

Gundersen Health System in La Crosse will continue to perform water births. They sent the following statement to News 8:

“Gundersen Health System will continue to offer a multitude of appropriate birthing opportunities for expectant moms including water births. When performed correctly and with the suitable patient population, like any birthing method, water births are safe and often provide a more relaxed and comfortable environment for the mother.”

Tomah Memorial Hospital says they will also continue to perform water births:

“Tomah Memorial Hospital offers water birthing as an option for expecting mothers. Hospital CEO Phil Stuart said the Tomah facility has been offering water births for nearly 15 years and will continue to provide the birth option. ‘Over the years we have had over 1,000 babies delivered in water and have given mothers and their baby a comfortable and relaxed experience.’ Stuart said hospital staff work with medical staff daily to ensure quality and safety are paramount at the facility. ‘We have a rigorous quality monitoring program and continually assess safety and quality standards to ensure the best experience and outcomes possible for all patients, including moms and babies.’ Tomah Memorial was one of the first hospitals in the region to offer water birth as a delivery option.”

Vernon Memorial Healthcare released this statement:

“Vernon Memorial Healthcare offers a water birth option at our hospital in Viroqua as an enhancement to our Obstetrics department for those that desire that service.  When discussing any birth plan, appropriate planning and patient education with our skilled staff is of the utmost importance.” 

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