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Sir,

The commentaries by J. J. Walker (Vol 101, June 1994) contain several inaccuracies: I am quoted as having written in 1983 (Odent 1983) that water birth is natural. I did not use the word natural or any other adjective synonymous with the word natural. I reiterate my conclusion that we need further research to confirm that “immersion in warm water is an efficient, easy and economical way to reduce the use of drugs and the rate of intervention in parturition”. I am quoted as having written that “because the fetus is in water in the uterus it is attractive for it to be born under water”. In fact, I have never mentioned any advantage for the baby of being born under water. I just stressed that “in any hospital where a pool is in daily use, birth under water is bound to happen now and then” even if “it may not be intentional”. Charkovsky is presented as a Russian obstetrician. Charkowsky is neither qualified physician nor qualified midwife. To illustrate the fact that M. Rosenthal is the person with the best documented experience a series of 400 births reported by L. K. Church (1989) is mentioned. To update the readers we should add that in 1991, Rosenthal analysed his experience of 679 births under water (Rosenthal 1991).

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