Infection Rates in Traditional Vaginal Birth vs. Water Birth

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Natalee J. Snyder, SN
Stephanie A. Palmer, SN
Sasha Sinkevich, SN
Nicollette Singleton, SN
School of Nursing, Chico State Nursing Program, Chico, CA, USA

The incidence of infection due to perineal tears during water births is unknown. Approximately 75% of all women who give birth vaginally will suffer from various levels of birth lacerations (Lundquist, Olsson, Nissen, & Norman, 2000). One in ten women who received a perineal laceration during a vaginal delivery later developed an infection(Johnson, Thakar, & Sultan, 2012).The purpose of this research is to determine the effects of water birth on maternal perineal infection in comparison to traditional birthing methods in California. The goal of this study is to determine the difference in perineal infection rates between these two birthing styles. This study defines perineal infection as the presence of swelling and redness at the wound, use of antibiotics, and fever. Fever will be measured using an electronic oral thermometer that will be calibrated per facility protocol and is classified as a temperature reading greater than 38 degrees Celsius.The study will implement a causal-comparative design including low risk mothers who fit within the study’s inclusion and exclusion criteria.  In this study, sampling will occur through random clustering of charts from 2013 of pregnant women who received a perineal tear at one of 20 California birthing centers that offer traditional and water births. One group will consist of women who used the traditional birth method. The other group will be comprised of women who chose the water birth method. Data will be collected retrospectively from patient files within the sampling groups. All information is confidential and no names were used throughout the study. To ensure confidentiality, all information gathered will be kept in securely locked electronic files on the laptops. Each participant will be given a reference number by which to be identified; her name will not be used to identify her. The patient’s information and whether the patient displays the above mentioned defining characteristics of infection will all be recorded on the data collection form. Data will be analyzed using the Chi Square test of independence with a p-value of 0.05% was used to ensure external validity. Implications of this proposed study are patient safety, fiscal responsibility, patient satisfaction, and improvement in practice.