Inflatable Birth Pool in a Box pools have been used for thousands of labors and births in Europe. The Regular and Mini pools have been available since December 2005, and were designed and built with the help of midwives and mothers in focus groups. The new pools represent a new generation of Birth Pool in a Box. The results are robust, safe, comfortable and hygienic birth pools for use at home or in hospital. We do recognise that no pool design can be all things to all people. This FAQ will help you decide if Birth Pool in a Box is for you.
Both pools are the same depth, so the choice comes down to length/width. For women over 5'8" the Mini pool may feel too small to comfortably assume positions conducive to labour and birth, such as leaning on the sides facing out with legs extended out behind. If your partner wants to join you in the pool, then whatever your height, the Regular pool is more comfortable. On the other hand, if you have limited space in the room you plan to use, you may be better off with the Mini pool even if you are over 5'8". The buoyancy of water will be in effect no matter your height or which pool you choose. It is simply the amount of space you may have around you that will differ with which pool you choose.
When a Birth Pool in a Box Personal Pool is sold to an individual, it is for their use only (or their partner or daughter or grand-daughter). If you use a Birth Pool in a Box bought for someone else or provided to you by a midwife or hospital, then check that it is a re-usable Professional or Hospital Grade model. This is marked on the side of the pool by the top white valve. Personal Pools have a warning on them - "Not to be loaned or hired for re-use". We advise you not to use such a pool unless you have purchased it yourself as new/unused.
The main issue for a midwife is likely to be the depth of the pool as she will want to ensure there is enough water to safely birth the baby. She may also want to ensure she has access to the mother for delivery. A baby born under water needs to be completely under the water as it is born, so the woman's lower body needs to be completely submerged when birthing the baby. If your midwife expresses reservations about using your pool, you have a few options:
Invite her to have a look at the pool prior to labor;
Share with her the adjustable pool height options;
Demonstrate how the pool will be when properly inflated, filled and with you in it;
Put her in touch with our company and we'd be happy to refer her to many midwives who have happily used and would recommend birth pool in a box.
We can also supply her with a copy of "Emergency Exit Procedures" for Birth Pool in a Box.
Note that the clinical judgment of the midwife on the day of your labor should be recognised as she may not be the same midwife who you originally spoke to, so be sure to cover as many bases as you can prior to your labour. Of course, the benefits of using water for labour alone are worth the investment, even if the midwife requests that you get out for the actual birth. Water is proven to shorten labor and reduce the need for interventions, regardless if there is a water birth or a land birth at the end of the labor!
The other issue for midwives may be the risk of puncture. Sensible precautions are covered in this FAQ under What is the risk of puncturing the pool?
It takes 10 minutes to inflate a Birth Pool in a Box using a good electric pump and 20-40 minutes using hand pump, depending on the capacity of the pump and your fitness. A cheap electric air pump may not have the power to inflate the pool adequately - we recommend a pump that generates a pressure in the range of 0.7-0.9 Psi.
Fill your pool with a new hose pipe (to ensure safety in hygiene) which is connected to your tap with a NEW tap connector. We recommend you run the water for 2-3 minutes into the sink before beginning to fill the pool to ensure the hose is fully rinsed. Filling time varies widely according to the water supply. It can be as little as 30 minutes from a high pressure continuous-flow boiler or up to 3 hours from a small tank that takes an hour to refill via a boiler. Always place the ClearFit Cover or a clean tarp on top of the water during filling to retain heat.
For a first-time mother, a good guideline is to begin filling when contractions are regular and between 3-4 minutes apart for one hour. For subsequent births, begin filling the birthing pool when contractions are 5 minutes apart. If you have a small water tank that takes a long time to refill, you may want to begin filling as soon as contractions start. If they progress slowly or stop, you can stop filling and leave the ClearFit Cover on.
If you are using the birthing pool in your own home, you may get in the birthing pool whenever you like. It may help ease early labour pains. In some cases, however, it might even stop your labour altogether. For the maximum pain relief, get in the birthing pool when you are in active labor: when your contractions are coming every 3-4 minutes and building in intensity (around 2" dilation). Water is not pain relief per se, but it will help you manage the pain better as it enables you to easily move into different positions, thus helping you relax more. For added benefits of water, get out of the pool every 90 minutes or so for a few contractions on land. Then get back in the pool for an extra burst of oxytocin-the hormone that powers labour contractions.
There are two main methods for the mother to enter and exit the pool:
Sit on side and swing legs over
Step in/out of pool. This flexes the pelvis and can positively affect labour progress.
For either method, the handles can be used for support. The top chamber may be partially deflated to make it easier for women with shorter legs to step over the sides. This can be done without significant loss of height of pool sides.
When you are in the birthing pool, you should feel comfortable, but not too warm. In labour, the water should be maintained according to your comfort between 91°F - 98°F. The latest evidence cites that the best gauge for temperature of the water is maternal comfort. If she is too hot or too cold, adjust the water accordingly and don't mind so much what the thermometer says. However, for water birth, the temperature should be 96°F - 98°F or the same temperature as the woman. You will want to use a clean thermometer to measure the water temperature. Note that temperature measurement is an inexact science and most inexpensive thermometers are accurate at best to +/- 1°F regardless of the number of decimal places they display. If you use the optional heat-retention cover, the heat loss will be minimised to 1-2°F per hour, depending on the temperature, humidity and air flow in the room. A cover also reduces humidity when the birth pool is not in use. Temperature monitoring every hour and adjusting temperature by removing & adding water can be attended to effectively by the woman's partner without great difficulty. We recommend that you keep a clean bucket handy to empty water before topping up, if the water level is already at the recommended maximum.
We do not provide heaters with our birthing pools as we believe it is simpler and safer for water birth to be without them. It does not take much effort to top up with hot water from the tap or kettle to keep a comfortable temperature in the birthing pool. There are several safety issues to bear in mind with respect to heaters. In order to use a heater with your birthing pool, you will need to add chemicals to the water to help preserve its freshness and prevent build-up of potentially harmful bacteria. For many people, chemicals are inconsistent with the philosophy of natural birth.
This is a question of convenience versus cost. With BPIAB you can choose according to your preference. If you take Birth Pool in a Box into a hospital or birth centre, you may need to empty and remove the pool from the room quickly to make it available for others. Check with your hospital for their requirements and any equipment they may already have.
You can use the pool to find the most comfortable positions to labor and/or give birth. Having a birth pool does not mean that you will need to or want to have a water birth. The benefits of labour in water alone are worth the investment. You may want to lean up against the side of the birthing pool holding the handles on the outside walls with your legs behind you for contractions, or you may want to lean back with your legs in front of you. Your partner or birthing companion may get in the pool to help support you, or provide support/massage from outside the pool according to preference. Some women like to hold onto something solid when they are in the pool. The sturdy handles are designed for this purpose.
A solid floor is preferable, or putting the pool in the corner of a room with joists that are rot-free, where there is more support. We cannot guarantee that your floor will support the weight of the birth pool. You may want to get an inspection of your joists and floorboards from a wood preservation company, particularly if your house is old and you have not had such an inspection recently.
Each pool has been inflated at the factory and left standing for 24 hours before a comprehensive inspection to ensure there are no defects. Then our independent inspectors randomly inflate and test another 5-10% of them before we accept them. You can take common sense precautions to minimise the risk of puncturing Birth Pool in a Box. These include:
Remove pool from packaging and leave to stand inside before unfolding. In winter, we recommend 72 hours to bring the whole pool up to room temperature.
Keep pets away from the pool, both in storage and when inflated.
Prepare the floor where the pool will be, i.e. sand, vacuum, sweep thoroughly to remove sharp objects or surfaces.
If the pool is going on a floor that might have jagged edges, be sure to cover the floor with a plastic sheet or cloth first.
Take care when handling the pool. We advise against moving the pool between rooms when inflated to avoid unnecessary wear & tear.
Remove jewellery prior to using the pool.
In the unlikely event of a puncture, Birth Pool in a Box is designed with 3 independent air chambers so that if one chamber punctures, 2/3 of the height of the sides remains, causing considerably fewer problems than if a single-chambered pool is punctured.
The new Birth Pool in a Box has been designed specifically to be firm enough to allow the mother, midwife or partner (max 210 lbs) to sit on the sides while entering/exiting the pools or supporting the birth. The material used is 0.38mm PVC and the seams are bonded using a high-frequency welding process that fuses the two piece of material together as one. To adjust the height of the pool, the middle chamber can be deflated, while the top and bottom chambers can remain firm for the pool's stability.
The depth of water in your birth pool is an important consideration, especially if you are planning on giving birth to your baby in the pool. A woman needs at least 18" of water in order for the buoyancy effect of water to benefit her labor. For birth in the pool, it is critical that the baby remain completely underwater until its head is deliberately brought to the surface, hence minimising the potential for the breathe reflex to be stimulated underwater. Both the Regular and Mini size Birth Pool in a Box pools are at least 26" deep internally, plenty deep enough for a safe birth for most women. The water can be within 3" of the rim of the pool with the mother in it therefore the water depth will be 23" (granted there will be some spills with this much water, so get the towels ready). Kiddie pools are usually shallower than this.
The pools can actually be "too deep" when fully inflated, depending on the height of the mother or midwife, so if this is the case for you, simply use the "adjustable height" feature in the pool by deflating the middle chamber so that the total height of the pool is comfortable for both mother and midwife. When the top and bottom chambers are fully inflated, the pool is still stable enough for sitting and leaning, while the middle chamber can be softer for height adjustment.
Yes! The liner is held in place securely by the handles at each end of the pool (GB patent, China patent pending). One disposable liner is included with each pool and additional liners for trial runs or pregancy relaxation are available. We strongly recommend using a new liner for the birth to minimise risk of cross-infection. In addition, a liner provides a second container for the 120+ gallons of water in your home and it makes cleaning up a snap. If you use Birth Pool in a Box without a new liner for the birth, you do so at your own risk.
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