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I'm thinking about a home water birth...what do I need to consider?

(12 Posts)
MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 03-Aug-11 10:54:50

I'm aware that not all MW's "do" them so I might not be able to deliver in the water (though actually, what are the risks re this as long as the baby is fully submerged?)

Are their different types of pools? Hire? Buy? Where does it need to be? When do you set it up etc...

ANy other logistical things? I'm thinking getting out to wee could be a mare...maybe dh could pass me a potty and I could stand up? blush

I laboured naked on dry land with ds so would prob want to be naked in the pool...is this ok?

Sorry...I know there are a lot of questions...I'm after a crash course really and aware that there will be q's I haven't even thought of. Any advice greatfully recieved! smile

PorkChopSter Wed 03-Aug-11 11:33:32

It's your decision if you want to plan to deliver in the water: not your midwife's, she should be trained to assist. Info here: www.homebirth.org.uk/homebirthuk.htm

You can hire or buy all sorts of pools. Consider whether:
1. you have room to keep a pool set up for the weeks leading up to birth
2. you will want to use the pool beforehand
3. what hot water system you have.

You can get blow up pools that you inflate and fill in while in labour: great if you do not have space and have a combi boiler.
If you have the space to leave a pool set up but a crap boiler, a heated pool (either rigid or inflatable) would be great.

Most pool hire companies have a 4-5 week hire period.

You can pee in the pool, if you so wish. You'll need a sieve in case you poo thought grin

What you wear is your choice. I've worn a bra top thing, but you could be naked or in a huge nightshirt: your choice.

There's lots more info here: www.homebirth.org.uk/water.htm

And videos of waterbirth here: www.mybirth.tv/

Secondtimelucky Wed 03-Aug-11 11:46:10

Yes, think mainly about whether you have space to set it up beforehand. If you have a dining room or somewhere where you could put up a rigid pool, they look lovely. You can have it all set up, the water is filtered, they will maintain their temperature if you are in there a while.

If, like me, you have a little house and need to use the main living area, an inflatable is your best bet. Most have lids (I believe) to keep it warm for a bit if you don't get in straight away. Do bear in mind the comments about a combi boiler. I don't think filling them from saucepans is much fun, so if your boiler is an issue you might want to think about investing in some huuuuge stock pots.

I wore a bikini top in the pool, but mainly because I thought I was getting in fairly early and may need to get out, stand up, stomp around. I thought that way I could just wrap a towel around my waist. But if I'd realised I would deliver in 40 mins, I'd just have gone in naked. Especially in my own home, where you feel even less inhibited than usual!

Do check where you live and the load bearing abilities of the floor! A full birth pool is mighty heavy (the notes for mine said how much). Ideally, if you are on a floor with joists, you locate it as near a corner as possible. If you are in a flat, it is worth just checking out you are happy with the load. If you are on a solid concrete floor, obviously this is not a worry.

You need a clean hosepipe (they are hard to disinfect, so best to have a new one) and do check that the valve fits on a relevant hot tap. My doula has many horror stories of that not working on the day! Also think about sheeting to keep things dry (ground sheet and cheap shower curtains from B&Q pretty good. You might want a cheapy throw or something from somewhere like Ikea in case you want to get out and sit on a sofa and don't necessarily want to have towels covering every inch. Oh, and lots of towels. Preferably ones it wouldn't break your heart to throw out afterwards.

That's all I can think of right now, but happy to answer any other specific questions if I can. I'm not an expert though, just someone who has had a home water birth myself recently.

dobeessneeze Wed 03-Aug-11 12:02:17

I had a home birth a few weeks ago and it was fabulous. Didn't actually deliver in the water though, so can't say anything on that point.

You can get second hand pools on ebay for about £50, but they're usually pick-up only or expensive to post, and you then have to buy a liner and accessories (pump, sieve, thermometer etc) separately. I bought the Boots mini birth pool kit for £120, which comes with everything you need (even the lovely sieve) and has free delivery, so doesn't work out much more expensive in the end (and you get Boots points and can flog it on ebay yourself afterwards if you like) and you can return it if there's anything wrong with it. It's here: www.boots.com/en/Birth-Pool-in-a-Box-Value-Kit_124452/

Depending what type of hot water system you have, an extra kettle could come in handy. It was quite a lot of work keeping the pool at the right temperature.

I also had an extra birthing partner, as well as DP and 2 midwives, and there was definitely enough to do to keep all 4 people busy (between keeping the pool at the right temperature, making snacks and drinks for me, supporting me, making sure the midwives had everything they needed).

I hated getting out to wee - if you can set the pool up somewhere with a relatively obstacle-free route to the loo that would help. I timed it so that I got out as soon as one contraction finished, weed like the wind and made it back into the pool in time for the next one.

I was naked the whole time.

As well as the birthing pool, my other indispensible item was an old duvet. Even if you do deliver in the pool, you may still have to get out for examinations, and I found the duvet nice and soft to kneel on. It was also where I delivered in the end, and was great for absorbing all the various bodily fluids that were flying around at the time. The duvet took the hit (with a cheap shower curtain underneath just in case, though it didn't seep through that far) and we just chucked it away afterwards.

Good luck!

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 03-Aug-11 12:08:30

Thank you so much PoskChopSter and SecondTimeLucky...that is all really usefull. smile

I think we have space really (but also a decent boiuler so options are open)...we have one large room downstairs so plenty of floor space, and maybe just move the odd thing to create room...and tbh a heated one appeals as the idea of trying to keep it warm sounds a bit stressfull. Plus...maybe we might get a bit of recreational use out of it before hand!

If so would I need to sterilise it or something?
How do you empty it? Is it really impractical to spend time in it before labour?...would I need a new hose to fill it each time? hmm... Just thining I might like to get to know it before the event iyswim!

I had a really long labour first time so the idea that it would stay warm appeals from that POV too...I guess heated ones are more expensive though?

I think the weight should be ok...we're in one of those '40's ex council houses and they are pretty solid. I'll check with my neighbour though who is a builder and knows abut stuff like that...

Will go look at the links now...thank you both for so much really usefull info! grin

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 03-Aug-11 12:12:17

Thanks dobeessneeze...I'm glad to hear it worked so well for you! Buying and reselling is definatly an option and thanks for the info re the accessories pack!

I'm glad to hear you were naked! I just hated having clothes on in my last labour so can't see me wanting them this time! At least I won't be the first! grin

dobeessneeze Wed 03-Aug-11 12:30:09

You're welcome - I hope things work out just as well for you. If you get an inflatable pool you are supposed to use a new liner each time, but they're about £25 each. I didn't get round to trying it out beforehand, but had been going to fill it without the liner and just save the liner for the event itself. I've also just disinfected the hose and stored it away with the pool, but I've never been one to pay much attention to sterilisation/hygiene guidelines (my 3 second rule is about a minute long). Cleaner people than me may do otherwise.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 03-Aug-11 13:11:23

ha, yes my rule is more if it doesn't look or smell dodgey it's prob ok to eat regardles of its history. grin

nannyl Wed 03-Aug-11 15:58:03

im planning a home water birth in about 6 weeks time.

My midwife didnt even bat an eyelid when i said id be planning to have it in the pool.

I got a birth pool in a box WITH a sterile liner, and all the other stuff that you can possibley buy for it (pumps / hoses / cover / floor mat +++ etc ) for £32 on ebay. (collection only, 20 min drive away). Im lucky cause OH runs his own company and has a massive warehouse less than a mile down the road that i can keep it all in. It would take up lots of space (that i dont have) if in my house, though of course will bring it here ready at 37 weeks. Its VERY heavy so i wouldnt want to attempt to put it in loft or high in a cupboard etc

The hose will need sterilising which i will do in the bath at 37 weeks, and have bought a bottle of liquid sterlising solutions (<£1 from tesco), and immediately before use ill run hot water (down the sink) through it for 5 mins

It took me less than 5 mins to inflate the pool when i practised, its the filling that takes its time, think the time taken to fill 4 baths full.

I have also got some waterproof terry single bed sheets that i will cover my sofas with in case i choose to get out for whatever reason.

(they will also protect sofas, should i choose to sit on them soon after birth.)

I got them for 50p each from the charity shop, so im happy to bin them afterwards if necessary.

I also have a pack of huggies childrens bed mats (cheaper than maternity mats, much bigger and more in a packet) so will sleep on them for the first few nights, as i dont really want to stress with washing and drying my bed sheets too, + 2 waterproof mattress protectors for my bed as well

PorkChopSter Wed 03-Aug-11 17:50:20

I've used a heated (inflatable) pool and a fill up as you need it one: I was cold in the non-heated one, it seemed to lose heat easily. And we used to play around in the heated one, and I'd float around in the evenings in it too. It came with sterilising tablets and we changed the water every 3-4 days (also didn't get in it without showering first).

Both pools had a pump to empty them and we just shoved the hose into the garden as the pool was near enough to a window.

Didn't use a new hose each time, but swilled a bit of milton around in it.

The inflatable non-heated ones are BPIAB or Aquaborn or La Bassine: there'll be loads on ebay grin and you can get new liners.

I wanted an inflatable heated one over a rigid side because my knees were so sore after kneeling throughout my last labour - the inflated bottom of the pool was great. You can put duvets and stuff underneath a rigid one: I couldn't be arsed. And anyway I didn't like the pond liner type effect, creased rubber gives me the heebiegeebies. I had a Lay Z Spa, I don't know where is hiring them now but you can buy them on ebay too.

GoldenGreen Wed 03-Aug-11 17:59:34

Hi MFM I think you are in Leeds? There are home birth and water birth information evenings at St James every month I believe. The ones I went to covered a lot of these questions between them.

I used a La Bassine at home and it was good - v comfy to kneel on, sides v sturdy.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 03-Aug-11 19:09:01

nannyl thanks that's really usefull. Huggies bed mats are a great idea.

I will definatly bare in mind the possibility of sore knees porkchopster. Had a really long second stage with ds and spent it on my knees.

Goldengreen yes i am in leeds, thanks for the tip off i'll check that out.

Ta all. grin

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