Birth Pool Frequently Asked Questions

At Birth Pools Online we do get asked a lot of questions. We have set up a simple knowledge base so you can find out the answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Health & Safety Questions

Disinfection protocol
The Birthing pools are disinfected using a disinfection protocol used in NHS hospitals and approved by the Health and Safety Executive. Using the same product as over 300 hospitals in the UK.

What is the importance of water temperature?

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that in the 1st stage of labour the range of water temperature is 34-37 degrees c and the 2nd stage of labour the water temperature should be 37-37.5 degrees c.

Is it safe for the baby to be born in water?
Gilbert & Tookey’s pediatric study of over 4,000 babies born in water, “Perinatal mortality and morbidity among babies delivered in water” reveals that “water birth is not dangerous”. Babies breathe inside the uterus, although it is fluid rather than air that passes in and out of their lungs. Before labour starts the baby stops this breathing. This continues while the cord remains untied because the baby is still connected to the umbilical cord and receiving an oxygenated blood supply via the placenta. In water, the cord remains soft and continues to pulse after the baby is delivered, so the baby does not need to breathe until after the cord is cut.

Water Birth Questions

When can I get in?
When labour is “established”. This is at about 4-5cms dilated, or when contractions are about 2 minutes long, regular, and about 5 minute apart. When you find that other techniques like massage, TENS, dancing, no longer help, when you begin to think; “now I really need something”. Often, getting into the birth pool at this point gives a wonderful whooshing release of tension. This relaxes the muscles, eases fear and anxiety, floods the body with endorphins and quite often moves you along the road of labour quite a way.

Why might my midwife ask me to leave the Birthing pool?
Your midwife will ask you to leave the birth pool for the following reasons:

  • Concern over the condition of the baby, changes in the foetal heart beat.
  • If there is meconium in your waters.
  • When your labour is not progressing well in first or second stage.
  • If the water becomes heavily soiled.
  • If you request to leave the pool.
  • In 3rd stage if there is excessive blood loss.
  • If there is any doubt in the midwife’s mind.
  • If you develop a high temperature, pulse or blood pressure.

Your midwife has a duty to monitor and assess your labour using her knowledge and experience, it would be advisable to follow her recommendations, and your midwife has a legal responsibility for the safe delivery of your baby and your well-being.

How long can I stay in the Birthing Pool and can I get out?
You can stay in for as long as you are comfortable. Don’t forget you can get in and out as many times as you like and its best to get out after about each hour allowing your body’s natural pain relief hormone, Oxytocin, to do its job. The effects of these hormones last for approximately an hour when you enter the water and then wears off. It’s the same feeling when you get into a warm bath, that deep sigh of relaxation. So our advice is get in, then get out after the first hour etc, pop to the toilet, walk around a little then get back in again when you need too. Make sure you have lots of clean towels ready.

How will my baby be monitored while I’m in the Birth pool?
The baby’s heartbeat can be regularly listened to, with an underwater sonic aid / Doppler, the same as a labour on dry land.

Can the midwife perform vaginal examinations in the Birthing pool?
Yes, your midwife will be able to using the birthing mirror supplied in your pool pack, although she might ask you to change position. Ask your midwife beforehand if you are in doubt.

Can I deliver the placenta in the birth pool?
Yes, in the absence of complications, but many midwives prefer you to leave the birthing pool for the third stage, because it is hard to assess blood loss in the water.

Why are some midwives more at ease with water birth than others?
The Midwife’s Code of Practice states that midwives should operate within the sphere of their expertise. Some might interpret this to use as a get -out clause if they have not been trained in the use of water. However, the Royal College of Midwives clearly says that it is also the duty of the midwives to gain knowledge in this area in order to offer it as part of normal practice.

  • Make sure that the Community Midwives office knows that you are intending to use water and to request that an adequately knowledgeable midwife attend you.
  • Give an unfamiliar midwife a chance to extend her sphere of knowledge by accepting that she has limitations, but negotiating to go beyond them together.

Technical Questions

Where can we put the birthing pool?
The birth pool is the weight of 8 adults. Therefore, imagine that weight when deciding where to locate the pool. Most midwives do prefer the pool to be on a ground floor of a house, for practical reasons.

How do I fill the birthing pool?
We provide 1  new hose, which is approximately 10 meters long. If you think that may not be sufficient, please measure the distance from taps to pool location adding at least 2 metres, for the drop and rise, and let me know. Additional hosing can be supplied.

The hose can then be connected to your taps using one of the two types of Hozelock tap connectors we supply. Either the universal tap connector, which is designed to fit taps where the water flows out from underneath the ‘arm’ of the tap or the original funnel shaped tap connector, with a jubilee clip to connect to swan neck mixer taps, single taps with a round aperture.

If you have more modern/wider spouts you may need to find an alternative tap, or try and find a suitable tap connector.

How easy is it to assemble the birth pool?
Extremely easy!

The rigid birthing pool comes with full step by step instructions It takes approx 15 minutes to assemble and is extremely straightforward. There are no bolts, screws or tools needed.

When do I have to pay?
Your deposit is due on booking as this secures your pool to you, so no-one else can book it. The balance payment is due one week before we ship the pool to you (being your 37th week of pregnancy). Should you have to cancel at any time before your pool is shipped, for a medical reason, we will guarantee to refund your balance but not your deposit. If the pool has been shipped, even if it is still in transit, then I am afraid we are not able to offer a refund. We may have lost bookings because the pool was booked out to you, and cannot re-hire the pool at that time. We will of course also still have to pay the couriers.

How can I pay?
Once you are ready and agreed to the terms and conditions of our website then you can check availability and book online using PayPal or if you prefer by Cheque.

Deposit: Non-returnable booking fee of £50 is required with all bookings. This will be subtracted from the overall balance.

Damage Retainer: A Returnable deposit of £100 is required to ensure the pool is returned to us clean and in good working order. This should be paid as a separate cheque and will only be banked if the pool is not returned to us in the state you received it.

When/how do I send my Birthing Pool back?
When you are close to being finished with your pool, please call or email us so we can arrange for you to return it or for us to arrange for it to be picked up by courier. We aim for the pool to be collected the following working day.

When will I receive my deposit back?
Within 28 days of your birth pool you have hired, being returned in good condition. (We normally do this much sooner but courier delays on returning and holidays can affect this timescale). We do inspect every birth pool that is returned to us.