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Birth Pool in a Box FAQs

Compare different between Mini and Regular birth pool

 Birth Pool in a Box MINI

  • Your priorities are:
  • You  have limited space
  • You have limited hot water capacity
  • You want to feel enveloped

Birth Pool in a Box REGULAR

  • Your priorities are:
  • You want your partner to join you
  • You want a feeling of space


Is birth pool in a box the right birth pool for me?
We have built on the feedback from mothers who used rigid as well as inflatable pools and developed the current second-generation of birth pool in a box with the help of midwives and mothers in focus groups. The result is a robust, safe, comfortable and hygienic birth pool for use at home or in hospital. We do recognize 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.

How do I use birth pool in a box for labour and birth?
You can use the pool to find the most comfortable positions to labour 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.

Does birth pool in a box have a disposable liner?
Yes! The liner is held in place securely by the handles at each end of the pool (GB patent. US, China and EU patents pending). One disposable liner is included with each pool and additional liners for trial runs are available for $50.00 each. We strongly recommend using a new liner for the birth to minimize risk of infection. In addition, the liner acts as a redundant second container of the 400 litres 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.

How long does it take to inflate a birth pool in a box?
It takes 8-10 minutes to inflate birth pool in a box using a good electric pump. (1/6 HP such as the one we well.)

How do I choose between the two Pool sizes?
Both pools are the same depth, so the choice comes down to length/width. For women over 5'6" the Mini pool is likely to be 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 likely to enable that comfortably. 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 5'6".

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 is sold to an individual, it is for their use only (or their partner or daughter/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.

How heavy is birth pool in a box when filled?
The weights of the two pools are as follows:
Pool Size     Weight Filled with Water             Weight Including Mother         Equivalent Number of Adults
Regular       650 kg / 1430 lbs                   730 - 770 Kg / 1606 - 1694 lbs         10 - 13
Mini                480 kg / 1056 lbs                   560 - 600 Kg / 1232 - 1320 lbs                8 - 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 a free 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.

What is the risk of puncturing the pool?
Each pool has been inflated at the factory and left standing for 8 hours before a comprehensive inspection to weed out pools with defects. Then our own inspectors randomly test another 5-10% of pools before we accept them. You can take common sense precautions to minimize the risk of puncturing birth pool in a box. These include:
    * 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
    * 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 less problems than if a single-chambered pool is punctured.

Are the sides of birth pool in a box firm enough?
The new second-generation birth pool in a box has been designed specifically to be firm enough to allow the mother, midwife or partner (max. 210 lbs or 95 kg) to sit on the sides while entering/exiting the pool 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.

How do I get in and out of the Pool?
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. In addition, 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.

Is birth pool in a box deep enough for a safe birth?
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 labour. For birth in the pool, it is critical that the baby remain completely underwater until its head is deliberately brought to the surface, hence minimizing the potential for the breathe reflex to be stimulated underwater. Both the Regular and Mini size birth pool in a box pools are 26" deep internally (28" externally with a 2" cushioned internal floor), 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). Other rental birth pools are generally 25-28" deep externally, with floor padding reducing this internally and hence comparable to BPIAB.

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. 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 labour;
    * 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.

Note that the clinical judgment of the midwife on the day of your labour should be recognised as she may not be the same midwife to whom you originally spoke, 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?".

How do I fill birth pool in a box?
Fill your pool using a NEW lead-free, drinking water grade hose (to ensure safety in hygiene) which is connected to your tap with a NEW tap connector. Filling time varies widely according to the water supply. It can be as little as 30 minutes from a high pressure on-demand hot water system or up to 3 hours from a small tank that takes an hour to refill/reheat.  Always place the heat retention cover (if purchased) on top of the water during filling. You can use kettles of hot water and boil pans of water on your stove if you have small water tank or slow hot water system. Take care to never pour boiling water near the sides or near a person in the pool.

When do I fill birth pool in a box?
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 heat retention cover on.

When do I get in the birthing pool?
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 maximum pain relief, get in the birthing pool when you are in active labour: when your contractions are coming every 3-4 minutes and building in intensity (around 5-6 cm dilation). Prior to getting into the pool, many women find that a TENS machine provides effective pain relief. Water 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.

How do I keep the water warm?
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 32°C - 36°C. 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 (Note that your midwife may have more rigid guidelines or policy than this, despite recent evidence).

If you use the optional heat-retention cover, the heat loss will be minimised to 0.5-1°C 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.

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 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.

How do I empty the pool?
This is a question of convenience versus cost. With birth pool in a box 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 place of birth for their requirements and any equipment they may already have.  There are three methods:

1. Bail with bucket:  Little or no cash cost. Approx 140 x 1 gallon buckets to empty Regular pool. Time away from family is opportunity cost.
2. Syphon using filling hose:  Can take 3 hours with one hose. Using more than one hose reduces time. Strain pool water thoroughly first.
3. Electric submersible water pump:  Most convenient: takes 45-60 minutes to empty pool through filling hose. Quiet. Strain water thoroughly first.