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What type of birth pool should I choose?

This article from The Good Birth Company is remarkably objective about the pros and cons of different options, and is reproduced here with their permission.

There are now many choices for birth pools on the market. Although price is one factor that helps people decide, there are good reasons that birth pools are priced very differently. To help you better understand the full range of birth pools, we've spelled out three tiers of the birth pool market for you to help you make a good decision about which pool is best for you:

Premium Market

At the high end of the market are heated, self-cleaning pools. These pools come with a built-in heater and water cleaning system so you fill the pool once and it stays heated and clean for the duration of your pool hire.

Pros:

Cons:

Questions to ask of these companies:

  1. How can you guarantee the filtration system has been adequately cleaned to prevent infection in my newborn baby?

  2. Does your pool come with a lockable cover to keep small children or pets from having an unsupervised swim?

  3. Do you want to have chemicals in the water in which you labour or give birth?

Companies that offer this service:

Gentlewater (www.gentlewater.com);
BirthWorks (www.birthworks.com)
Crescendo (www.crescendopools.co.uk )(inflatable so slightly less expensive).

Middle Market:

At the middle market range, simple structure pools are offered which allow the customer to easily set up a birth pool and fill it with hot/warm water when labour begins. These pools can also be used prior to labour for relaxation and would be topped up just like a bath would be topped up. The temperature of these pools does not drop dramatically like it would in a bath, as it is such a large body of water, so topping up every 20-30 minutes with a kettle or two or from the tap should be fine for a comfortable evening soak or for labour. These pools come with an industrial solids waste emptying pump which empties the pools in about 20 minutes to the last inch of water.

Pros:

Cons:

Questions to ask of these companies:

  1. Make sure your pool hire company uses brand new consumable items that come in contact with the water and the woman prior to giving birth such as liners, filling hoses, tap connectors, thermometers and heat retention covers to be used while filling.

  2. Note reusable heat retention covers have bubble-wrap like texture which is very difficult to keep clean, and if a bubble bursts and water goes inside, bacteria from a previous hire will inevitably grow! Be sure your pool hire company uses a brand new heat retention cover for each hire!

  3. Ask if there are any charges beyond the typical 4-week hire. Some companies have clever pricing where the daily price of the pool hire can mean a very expensive service by the time you have gone a couple weeks overdue.

  4. Ask if there is an early return bonus.

  5. Ask if you cancel your pool after the deposit and full amount have been paid, but learn you need to cancel your pool for a medical reason, is there a refund?

  6. Is there after-hours and weekend customer service? You do not want to be getting an answer machine at 2 a.m. when you need some advice filling your pool!

  7. Does your pool hire company respond quickly to your phone calls or emails about information and booking?

  8. Can you pencil-in a pool rather than paying a deposit to reserve it?

Companies that offer this service:

www.thegoodbirth.co.uk;
www.activebirthcentre;
www.birthworks.co.uk;

Low-end Market

At the low-end of the market, some paddling pools have now been deemed suitable to be used for birth. Some are even designed for birth. At the end of the day, these are just paddling pools, mass produced in China and you will get what you pay for! Many women are thrilled to be able to spend so little for the luxury of water for labour and birth. A few precautions can minimise the issues that may be a part of using a plastic inflatable pool for birth.

Pros:

Cons:

Questions to ask of these companies:

  1. How many chambers of air does the pool have? If one is popped, how much water will be lost? If it is a single chamber pool, all the water will go on the floor!

  2. Can you sit and/or lean heavily on the sides of the pool?

  3. How deep is the pool? We recommend a 22 inch high pool not be used for a woman over 5'4". A 25"or deeper pool is suitable as long as the pool has length to it to allow a woman to extend her legs out behind her when she is leaning against the side of the pool. She will want her bump and lower back to be underwater during labour.

  4. Is there enough space for a partner to be in the pool with the woman? Ask what the INTERIOR dimensions are of the pool to find out how much space is inside the pool. For a woman to comfortably extend herself in the pool, the interior dimension should be at least 48".

  5. What is the history of these pools? Do you have access to stories of satisfied customers?

  6. What is the thickness of the PVC? Is it thicker than other inflatable pools on the market?

Companies that offer this service:

www.birthpoolinabox.co.uk;

www.madeinwater.co.uk

This article was written by The Good Birth Company.

The Good Birth Company

Specialists in affordable birth pool hire. Local agents around the country. Rigid sided birth pool hire from 165. Very liberal cancellation policy--100% refund of deposit and full payment if cancelling for a medical reason prior to collecting the pool. Money back for early return and no charge for going beyond 4 week hire period if baby is not yet born! www.thegoodbirth.co.uk

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