Having a water birth in your home is a beautiful experience, and it is one that you’ll remember forever! There are so many good reasons to consider using a birth pool for your delivery, or even just for comfort during labor. However, enjoying a successful water birth requires some forethought and planning. This step by step guide will help to walk you through the process of setting up your pool, ensuring that you feel ready to go when it’s baby time!
1. Preparation in the weeks leading up to labor
Talk with your midwife about water birth to make sure it is the right option for you and your baby. You’ll also want to take a look around your home and decide on the best place is to set up your pool. A filled pool can weigh around 1500 lbs, so a ground floor is often recommended. An upstairs room is typically fine as well, assuming that your floor boards are strong and intact. You may want to consider filling the room with things that make you feel safe, relaxed and happy. Music, art, comfortable lighting and a robe with slippers are some great starter ideas.
2. Involve your partner, gather supplies, consider a test run.
You should receive two bags from your midwife in the last month of pregnancy. One will include a pool and your personal one-time-use pool liner. The second bag will include an air pump for blowing up the pool, a water pump for draining it post deliver, some twinkly lights and extra batteries. Familiarize yourself with all of these items, and read your pool’s instruction manual with your partner. Consider a test run so that you feel comfortable with the steps when labor begins. You will need to supply your own garden hose for filling the pool, and we recommend using a brand new one. If you plan to use an old one, run some bleach through it to ensure it is clean. Make sure that you have a suitable faucet or water tap to connect your hose to, and that the hose will reach to the room where you plan to set up your pool. If the hose will not properly connect, you can buy an attachment at your local hardware store. You may want to turn up your hot water heater, or consider alternative ways to heat your water. Typically, our pools require as much water as it takes to fill a bath 2-3 times.
3. Begin set up
Begin setting up your pool as soon as you think labor has begun, or even before if you have the space for it. Start with a clean floor, and consider laying down a tarp to collect any spilled water. Place the pool on the tarp and begin to blow it up using the air pump. This will be similar to how you fill an air mattress. You will see areas for blowing up the bottom, the chair, and the sides. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Your instruction manual should detail this portion as well. When your pool is about 80% filled with air, put on your liner. It should fit snugly and perfectly to your pool. Then, complete the blow up process, and tightly close all of the valves to prevent air loss. If your midwife has provided string lights for your pool, they should always be used underneath the liner. You may want to have a pile of towels handy for when you’re getting into and out of the pool, or even a bath mat to help prevent you from slipping.
4. Add water
Begin filling your pool with water by draping the hose into it, and turning on your water source. To prevent heat loss, reduce ventilation by closing windows, doors and vents. Mix the water occasionally as the pool fills, and monitor the temperature to make sure it feels comfortable for you. If you choose to monitor with a thermometer, it is generally recommended to keep the temperature below 99.4 degrees. Once the water reaches the fill line located on the side of the pool, turn off the flow of water and remove the hose. If you are not yet ready to get into your pool, covering it with a tarp or linen can help to prevent heat loss.
5. Enjoy your pool!
You may use your pool however your body needs it. Some women find comfort in getting in and out throughout labor, sitting on the inflatable seat, leaning over the sides, or on hands and knees. Your partner may want to sit in the pool with you for extra support. Other women prefer to use the pool strictly for delivery. Listen to your body, allow the water assist your laboring process, and check in with your midwife along the way.
We are always excited to attend water births, and we feel honored to be a part of yours. Share below in the comments your questions, thoughts, or tips for other moms from your water birth experience. We love to hear from you!