Personal Birth Pools – FAQs

Is Birth Pool in a Box right for me?

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. This FAQ will help you to design if Birth Pool in a Box is right for you.

How do I choose between the two pool sizes?

Both Birth Pool in a Box portable 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 labor and birth, such as leaning to the side with her legs extended out behind. If her partner wants to also be in the pool, then whatever the mothers height, the regular pool would be more comfortable. On the other hand, if the room you plan to place the pool in is small, 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 what the mother’s height is or which pool you choose. It is simply the amount of space you have that will differ with which pool you choose.

My friend has said I can use her Birth Pool in a Box. What are the issues in doing this?

When a Birth Pool in a Box personal pool is sold to an individual, it should be used by one person only. 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 this is a reusable 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.

What if my midwife is uncomfortable using Birth Pool in a Box for water birth?

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 enough access to the mother for the delivery. A baby born underwater needs to be completely under the water as it is born, so the woman’s lower body needs to be completely underwater during birth. If you midwife expresses reservations about using your pool, you have a few options:

  • Invite her to have a look at the pool prior to labour
  • 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 happily 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.

Please note that the clinical judgement of the midwife on the day of your labour 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 labour and reduce the need for interventions, regardless if there is a water birth or a land birth at the end of the labour.

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?’.

Using Birth Pool in a Box

How do I use Birth Pool in a Box for Labor and birth?

You can use the pool to find the most comfortable positions for labor and/ or to 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 may get in the pool to help support her, or provide massage from outside the pool according to preference. Some women like to hold onto something solid when they are in the pool and the study handles are designed for this purpose.

When and how do I fill Birth Pool in a Box?

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.

How do I get in and out of the pool?

If you are is experiencing early labor pains, you may get in the birth pool whenever you like. In some cases, however, it might even stop your labor 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 a pain relief per se, but it will help you to manage the pain better as it enables you to easily move into different positions, thus helping you to relax more. For added benefits of water, get yourself out of the pool every 90 minutes or so for a few contractions to land. Then get back into the pool for an extra burst of oxytocin – the hormone that powers labour contractions.

There are 2 key methods for the mother to enter and exit the pool:

  • Sit on the side and swing legs over
  • Step in/out of the pool. This flexes the pelvis and can positively affect the labor 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.

How do I keep the water warm in my birth pool?

When you’re in the birthing pool, you should feel comfortable, but not too warm. In labor, the water should be maintained according to your comfort, between 91°F – 98°F. The latest evidence suggests that the best gauge temperature for the water is a maternal comfort. If you are too hot or cold, adjust the water accordingly and don’t overly consider what the thermometer says. However, for a water birth, the temperature should be 96°F – 98°F or the same temperature as yourself.

If you use the 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 the temperature by removing and adding water can be attended to effectively by your partner without great difficulty. We recommend that you keep a clean bucket to hand to empty water before topping up if the water level is already at the recommended maximum.

Can I use a heater in Birth Pool in a Box?

We do not provide heaters with our birthing pools as we believe it is simpler and safer for water births to be without them. You can instead top up your pool with hot water from the tap or kettle to keep it at a comfortable temperature in the birthing pool. There are several safety issues to bear in mind in terms of 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 the build-up of potentially harmful bacteria. For many people, chemicals are inconsistent with the philosophy of natural birth.

How long does it take to inflate a Birth Pool in a Box?

It takes 10 minutes to inflate Birth Pool in a Box using a good electric pump and 20-40 minutes using a 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 adequate, therefore, we recommend a pump that generates a pressure in the range of 0.7-0.9 Psi.

Features of Birth Pool in a Box

How heavy is Birth Pool in a Box when filled?

The weights of the 2 pools are as follows:

Pool SizeWeight Filled with WaterWeight including motherEquivalent Number of adults
Regular650 kg / 1430 lbs730 – 770 Kg / 1606 – 1694 lbs10 – 13
Mini480 kg / 1056 lbs560 – 600 Kg / 1232 – 1320 lbs8 – 10

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 an inspection recently.

What is the risk of puncturing the pool?

Each pool has been inflated at the factory and left standing for 24 hours before a comprehensive inspection to ensure that 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 it from its packaging and leave to stand outside 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 such as vacuuming, sanding and sweeping thoroughly to remove any possible sharp objects or surfaces
  • If the pool is going on a floor which may 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 and 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 if one chamber punctures, ⅔ of the height will remains – causing considerably fewer problems than if a single-chambered pool is punctured.

Is Birth Pool in a Box deep enough for a safe birth?

The depth of the water in your birth pool is important to consider, especially if you are planning on giving birth to your baby in the pool. You need at least 18” of water in order for the buoyancy effect of water to benefit your labor. For birth in the pool, it is critical that the baby remains completely underwater until it’s head is deliberately brought to the surface, hence minimising the potential for the breath reflect to be stimulated underwater. Both the regular and mini sized Birth Pool in a Box is at least 26” deep internally, which is plenty deep enough for a safe birth for most women. The water can be within 3” of the rim of the pool with you in it, therefore the water depth will be 23” – granted there will be some spills with this much water, so get the towels ready. Kids pools are usually shallower than this.

The pools can actually be ‘too deep’ when fully inflated, depending on your height or your midwife’s, 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. 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.

Are the sides of Birth Pool in a Box firm enough?

The new Birth Pool in a Box has been designed specifically to be firm enough to allow the mother, midwife or partner (maximum 210lbs) to sit on the sides while entering/exiting the pool. The material used is 0.38mm PVC and the seams are bonded using a high-frequency welding process that fuses the two pieces 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.

Birth Pool in a Box Accessories

Does Birth Pool in a Box have a disposable liner? And why do I need a liner?

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 pregnancy relaxation are available. We strongly recommend using a new liner for the birth to minimise the 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 easier. If you use Birth Pool in a Box without a new liner for the birth, you do so at your own risk.