Do not rush the time with baby in the water. As long as everything is well with mother and baby, the two of you can stay in the water and relax and snuggle. Babies stay perfectly warm against mother’s warm chest. If the water seems to not be warm enough and baby is not as pink as your care providers would like you can carefully add a couple soup pots of hot water. Pour hot water away from mother, baby and pool wall and stir as you pour to mix the heat.
You can delivery your placenta while in the pool. There is no need to rush cutting the cord. You can float a stainless bowl in the pool to hold the placenta or simply go without the bowl and it will float on its own.
While mother and baby are resting, someone can prepare the bed for them. Pillows – lots of pillows are very helpful. Also place a plastic backed sheet on the bed and a large absorbent underpad on top of this.
If there is a heating pad around, it can be wonderful to get into a warm bed. Place heating pad in the bed then remove when mom gets in.
Talk to your care provider early in the last month of pregnancy to learn what they will take care and what you will need to take care of after the birth. Many care providers will drain, clear and take your birth pool down, do a load of birth laundry, take care of garbage and in general, put the house back the way it was before labor started as well as get mom and dad some food and beverages. But some care providers do not assist in this way. If they do not, it is important to have a close family member or friend available to tend to these tasks.
Taking your pool down
In your third trimester visits with your midwife, discuss who will be draining, cleaning and taking down your birth pool. Ideally your care provider will agree that this is a time for the new family to relax together and not a time to be taking down your birth pool. If you learn that your care provider or their assistant will not be undertaking this task I advise that you delegate this job to a family member or a friend.
Where to dump your water
You have set your pool up in a location that allows you good access to your water source and good access to your water dump location. Most people will drain their birth pool into their bath tub or shower. Others who own their property, will drain their birth pool into their grass, flower bed or other location. DO NOT drain your birth pool to public locations, sewer drains, or into creeks. If you drain onto your property, some home owners like to ‘water in’ the birth water by running fresh water over the top of the drain site. Draining ‘up hill’ such as into a sink does not work well unless you are using an electric pump that can effectively push the water.
Draining the pool
Once mom and baby are out of the pool you should first remove any particles that you do not want going through your water pump or through your draining hose. Using a long handled Debris Removal Net scoop and dump as much of these ‘particles’ as you can. This may not be a good job for someone who is squeamish. These ‘particles’ will be blood clots, meconium (baby’s first bowel movement), vernix (creamy, waxy coating on baby’s skin), pieces of the amniotic sack and maybe some fecal material (mom’s push out poo when they push out baby ; )
Once you have scooped the pool, you can then set up your draining system. You can use water removal pumps or a hose siphon.
Water removal pumps
Using a water removal pump is by far the quickest way to drain a pool. Find out if your midwife will be providing a pump and if she is not, you may want to consider investing in one or borrowing one. IMPORTANT: Never place a used submersible water removal pump into a birth pool until mother and baby are out of the pool for good. This is a good way to introduce dangerous bacterial into the birth pool. There are several different water removal pumps you can select from:
- Submersible Water Removal Pump
This type of pump goes directly into the pool. Select a model like our: Submersible Water Removal Pump that allows you to attach the same hose you used to fill the pool to the top of the pump for draining. The pump with the hose attached, goes into the pool. The hose to taken to your dumping area and then the pump is plugged in. Our Submersible Water Removal Pump will empty your pool in about 10 to 15 minutes. This type of pump is a great investment for your household. To clean your pump after emptying your birth pool you can fill a sink or five gallon bucket with clean water and run this through the pump. This can be followed with running bleach water through your pump. The outside can be wiped down with an antibacterial solution. It is important to always treat this pump as ‘contaminated’ and never place your used pump into water that you do not wish to contaminate, especially a birth pool before the mother and baby are out of the pool for good.
- Transfer Water Removal Pump
This type of pump sites outside of the pool and is the perfect selection for pumps that will be used repeatedly for draining birth pools. Select a model like our: Transfer Water Removal Pump that allows you to attach the same hose you used to fill the pool to the side of the pump for draining. With this pump you place your water hose in the pump and attach the other end to the ‘in let’ side of the water pump. This will suck the water into the pump. This pump comes with its own 6 foot hose that you will attach to the ‘outlet’ – the side the water comes out of. Move your pump close to your water dump site and place the end of the 6 foot hose were you want the water to drain to: in the bath tub, in the shower stall, in the garden or grass. DO NOT place the Transfer Water Pump where it will get wet. This pump will also drain your birth pool in 10 to 15 minutes. To clean your pump after emptying your birth pool you can run clean water through it or even bleach water. Wipe the outside with an antibacterial solution being sure to wipe inside the hose attachment fittings. Unlike the submersible water pump, this pump is safer to use for repeat births as it does not submerge into the birth water.
- Electric Drill Pump
This is a very affordable and unique way to drain your birth pool. The Electric Drill Pump will drain your pool in about 30 minutes. It attached to an electric drill. You will need to water hoses. A shorter water hose is good to use on the ‘in let’ side of this pump. One end goes into the birth pool and the other end attached to the in let side of the pump. Use the water hose you used to fill your pool for the ‘out let’ side of your drill pump. The other end will go to your water dump site. Plug your electric drill on and activate it. The drill action will suck the water from the pool. NOTE: You will need a good drill to do this task. Old, worn out drills may over heat and burn out being ran for 20 to 30 minutes to drain your pool. If your drill seems to be over heating, turn it off and let it cool down then start again.
- Portable Water Transfer Pump
This is an option ONLY if you are unable to use electricity to run your water pump. Our Portable Water Transfer Pump runs on three “D” batteries and will drain your pool much slower then either of our electric water removal pumps. Also this pump will not have the power to pump water up to a sink. It will work well for pumping outside or to a shower stall or tub. But this pump is a great option for those who do not have or access to electricity is at a distance.
Water siphon system
Using the same hose you used to fill your pool you can drain your pool by creating a siphon. Gravity is your power here and this means that this method of draining your pool will be very slow – one to two hours. If your clean up helper or your care provider start draining your pool via siphon shortly after mom and baby are out of the pool, the pool should be drained by the time they are finished settling mom into bed, doing a new born check, feeding mom and making sure all is well, which typically take about two hours.
Creating a siphon: You first must remove all the air from your water hose. There are a couple different ways to do this.
1) Coiling hose into the pool: Disconnect your water hose from your water source and slowly lower the hose into the pool water, coiling it. The water will travel up the hose and push the air out. Continue until you can submerge the end of the hose underwater. Wait until all water bubbles leave the hose. This indicates that there is no more air in the hose. Tightly place the palm of your hand over one end of the hose so that no air can enter the hose and slowly lift it from the pool and take it to your water dump site. Lay the hose down and gravity should start the flow of water.
2) Pushing air out with water: If you are draining your water into your bath tub our outside you can push the air out of your hose with water.
Bath tub: take one end of the hose to the bath tub and leave the other end in the pool. Turn on the water and force it into your hose trying to get as much water as possible to enter the hose. This will push the air from the hose into the pool. Have someone on the pool end who tells you when they see no more air bubbles. Lower the hose quickly to the floor of the tub and water should start to flow from the pool if you were successful in removing all air from the hose. If not, try again.
Out door water spigot: If you are dumping your pool water outside see if you have a water spigot that is close enough to use. Leave one end of the water hose in the birth pool and attach the other end to the outside water spigot. With someone monitoring the pool end of the hose, turn the water spigot on and the water should push the air out of the hose into the birth pool. When no more bubbles appear in the pool, turn off the spigot, unscrew the hose and lower it to the grown. Gravity should start water flowing from the pool.
Avoiding water messes
Always monitor both ends of the water hose when draining a birth pool to be certain that you do not accidentally end up with water on your floors from a hose slipping out of the pool or bath tub or shower.
Cleaning the pool
With the water gone you can finish cleaning your pool before you deflate it. If you have used a Birth Pool Liner the the next step will be very easy. You will have some water in the bottom of the pool no matter which method you use to drain it. If you have a liner on the pool, at this point you can simply remove the liner and dump the remaining water into the water dump site, roll the liner up and dispose of it.
If you did not use a liner, use some towels to soak up the remaining water and place these towels in the washing machine or laundry basket lined with a large garbage bag.
There are several ways to clean your pool and the method you pick will depend on how you go about cleaning in general.
Warm soapy water: Some feel that warm soapy water will clean the pool adequately. Others feel better using an antibacterial soap to clean with. Wash down all sides of the pool carefully.
Hibiclens or Povidone: Some people like to clean their pools with a stronger agent such as Hibiclens or Povidone. Hibiclens and Povidone can be purchased as cleaning scrub sponges or in liquid form: Hibiclens Sponge, Povidone Sponge, Chlorhexidine liquid, Povidone liquid. Be careful when using these products to clean as they can stain fabrics. If using the sponges, simply scrub down the pool with it. The liquids can be added to water then clean the pool.
After cleaning the pool follow with several wipes with a clean towel rinsed frequently in clean water. Strong cleaning solutions should be wiped off of the pool to prevent the next birthing mother from coming into contact with the substances. Wipe the pool down with a clean dry towel then let stand to finish air drying before deflating. It is important that the pool be completely dry before deflating and storing.
NOTE: It is important to clean a birth pool before each use no mater how well it was cleaned following the previous birth.
Deflating your pool: The easiest and fastest way to deflate your pool is to use an air pump that deflates. All of our air pumps have this feature and it is the only method that allows you to remove all the air from the pool. This means that you will actually be able to fold your pool small enough to get it back in its storage bag.
All engineered birth pools such as: La Bassine, Birth Pool in a Box and Aquaborn have large air valves on the sides of the pool that have an inner ring that can be unscrewed from the side of the pool wall to allow air to leave the pool quickly. You can also use these same large air valves to d eflate the pools with a deflating style air pump. Move the air hose on your air pump to the deflating port, Place the air nozzle into the air valve opening on the pool and turn your air pump on. This will pull the rest of the air from your pool. When air is gone, replace air valve on your pool. You can do the same with the floor of the pool but you will need to use a small air nozzle on your air pump for this task as the air valves in the floors are the small type.