This post was adapted and updated from my old blog. I hope the information will be helpful to women planning a home water birth! This post contains affiliate links.
Water birth is an option that has been around for many years. But I’ve recently noticed it becoming increasingly popular at home births, as well as in some birthing centers and progressive hospitals. For women planning a water birth at home, however, the cost and trouble of obtaining a birth pool can be challenging.
Some people like to rent actual birth pools for set amount of times from their midwife, doula, or a birth pool rental company. While this definitely has its advantages, there are many of us who like to go the less expensive route and purchase a kiddie pool to birth in.
I purchased this inflatable kiddie pool for my home birth with my second baby. It definitely met my needs- it was big enough, strong enough, and comfortable enough to support me through labor and birth.
UPDATE: Amazon no longer sells these pools for a reasonable price, but I found them for $40 here. That’s quite reasonable when compared with other suitable birth pool options.
But not just any kiddie pool will do! Some are too shallow, some are too flimsy, and some aren’t wide enough. What should you look for in a kiddie pool when you want to use it as a birth pool?
1) Depth. The pool must be deep enough that the water will cover your entire abdomen. If it doesn’t, that negates one of the main points of having a water birth- helping that uterus relax into its work! My pool is 24” deep, and that was sufficient for me to sink down in comfortably.
2) Diameter. Make sure that the pool is large enough that you can stretch out to your liking. In mine, I can sit against one wall and stretch my legs out all the way with room to spare.
3) Support The walls must be strong & thick enough to support your weight leaning against them- and remember that your partner, midwife, or doula may be leaning against them at some point too. You want to be able to rest on it comfortably. The last thing you want is to lean against a pool wall and start spilling your water over the edge!
4) Comfort. Your birth pool must be comfortable! One thing I really liked about mine is that the bottom inflates. It adds a nice layer of padding for sitting, squatting, or kneeling. Consider also softness of the walls- I much prefer thick inflatable walls over the stiff walls held in place by water weight. I just think it’s cushier.
5) Aesthetics. This may be more important for some than others. Some may prefer a calm, plain pool in soothing blue or green. My pool had colorful fish & seaweed all over it! While it might be nice to keep things a little tamer, the colorful design wasn’t too much of a distraction during labor for me. 😉 If looks matter to you, shop for a different pool that will help you stay in your zone a little better!
One advantage to buying a kiddie pool for labor is- well- you now have a kiddie pool for later use! Sanitize with bleach after emptying and you’re good to go. If you can’t stomach that idea, at least you only paid $30 for it instead of renting one for over $100. Less money down the tubes is always a good thing.
Our pool went through 2 years of use post-birth and now has too many leaks in it to use for baby #3. I just bought a second of the same one- and hopefully it will be put to good use soon. 🙂
I hope this was helpful to mamas considering a DIY water birth at home. If you’ve had a water birth, what type of pool would you suggest?
I used a pool that looked like this but, sadly, was “for birthing” and therefore expensive. We blew it up to test it out ahead of time and when we were outside, our cat– now an outdoor-old cat!– jumped on it and popped it. I repaired it. But the leaks reopened in the middle of labor! We had to reinflate twice while my toe covered the hole between contractions. In retrospect, it’s a pretty funny story, but my husband might still not agree. Lesson: don’t leave it blown up where a cat can jump on it, but for the birth it was awesome! Thanks for the tips and best of luck with your next labor. <3
Oh my Kelly!!! You’re right, it would probably be funny in retrospect, but I bet it was quite an ordeal during labor!!! How cool that you also had a home birth! 🙂 I’d love to hear the whole story sometime!
That is hilarious! Thanks for sharing!
We also have cats, and because of them I didn’t set up the pool ahead of time. I was in labor for over an hour when I forcibly suggested to my husband that he should probably get cracking on inflating it and filling it up. I have short labors. And this baby was born before it was even inflated. I’m pregnant again and this time I’m just going to keep the cats outside and have my pool ready!
How much did you pay for your pool? If I remember correctly, they used to cost around $40. They have more than doubled in price. 🙁
Yes, mine was just under $40! Ugh, I’m so sorry they cost so much now! We’ll have to scour for another economical option…
Thanks for your post it’s great! and I think if you search for this pool on sites other than Amazon they are still under $50 for anyone seeing the expensive one listed on Amazon.
Thanks for the info, Danielle! I’ll try to see if there’s a less expensive one to link to! I can’t believe it went up so much- mine was only around $30 when I bought it!
Did you ever find a less expensive one to link to? It’s about 100$ now!
How did you disinfect the pool? Do you just wash it?
Yes, we washed it and used a bleach solution afterwards. Then it was fine for re-use as a kiddie pool. Optionally, you can purchase birth tub pool liners separately.
Hi, thanks for this post! How did you fill the pool and keep the water at the right temperature? T
We filled the pool with a brand new food-grade hose from our kitchen sink, and used a thermometer to check the temperature. We filled at just a couple degrees warmer than is optimal to allow for cooling as we waited for it to fill. Then, once I got in, it was usually just about right. Some people warm it up by refilling with another bucket of hot water and then “stirring,” other people might purchase a small water heater for this purpose. However, I never labored long in the water, so it usually stayed just about right.
Did you have a midwife? I want to do a water birth but where I’m from they don’t do that here at the hospitals and because I’ve had my mind set on it I’m thinking of just doing a home water birth but I don’t currently have a midwife.
Yes, I had a midwife! 🙂 Best of luck to you!
i dont have the money to get the one you have. do you think i can still get covered & comfortable in the next size down? this is what its labeled: Intex Swim Center Clearview Aquarium Inflatable Pool, 62.5″ X 62.5″ X 19.5″, for Ages 3+ & then this is the amazon link https://www.amazon.com/Intex-Center-Clearview-Aquarium-Inflatable/dp/B000VSAF2O/ref=asc_df_B000VSAF2O/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=216527863848&hvpos=1o8&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7907763687287008236&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9016174&hvtargid=pla-359774058199&psc=1
i would appreciate your feedback <3
So sorry for the delayed response! I am not super active on this blog at the moment, and you may have had your baby by now! Usually you want the pool to be able to cover your abdomen. That being said, if you can’t find a deep enough pool, this is still probably larger than your average tub and would still likely be of some benefit.
How did you get the water out after the birth?
Sorry for the delay in replying, Vanessa. To be quite honest, my husband always did this part and I was in blissful ignorance. I just know he used some kind of mini pump and pumped it all outside. I wish I could give you more details! I will have to ask him about it for you.
Just wanted to add for anyone who is shopping for one of these, they are currently $80 on amazon, but the intex website has them for $35.99.