This post was adapted and updated from my old blog. I hope the information will be helpful to women planning a home water birth!
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.
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?
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