I hear this a lot from women. They are over 5’8″ and want to be sure that they select the right pool for their height.
So – How do you decide?
Here is a way to help you decide if you have the right water birth pool for you but you must first understand how women typically labor in water birth pools.
Left to their own accord, women will usually labor in a upright or knelling position no matter if they are on land or in water. On land and at home, a woman will usually stand up and lean forward on a counter or on her partner when having a contraction. Or she will get on her hands and knees or on her knees and lean on the couch or a birth ball. In water the woman will behave similarly but since the water provides buoyancy, she will not stand up but will get up on her hands and knees or on her knees leaning forward on the walls of the pool.
You want to be sure that the pool you select will be deep enough to keep your belly in the water. Notice the gal in the photo to the left. She is forward leaning kneeling. In this ‘frog’ position (knees spread, bottom low in the pool – typically a position taken in advanced labor and when pushing), her belly is well in the water. This pool (Aquarium) is only 22″ tall.
In this photo the mother is on her hands and knees. The water comes to the center of her side and her belly is well in the water. This pool (La Bassine) is 25″ tall.
To know how tall a pool needs to be to accommodate you in this position in labor you should:
1) Get into the hands and knee position on the floor and measure from the floor to the center of your side Note the water line on this gal. Measure to there on yourself.This is the ‘tallest’ you will be in a kneeling position in the water.
2) All pools have inflated floors. You need to add the 3″ inflated floor to the measurement you just got. If you measure 16″ from the floor to the center of your side then you add 3″ for the inflated floor and now have 19″.
3) You need to leave 5″ to 6″ of ‘head room’ in your pool which means you, of course, will not be filling the pool to the top. You want the water to come no more then 5″ to 6″ from the top. So, add this 6″ to the 19″ you have. Your kneeling height to the center of your side (16″) + plus the floor (3″) + head room (6″) = 25″
For these measurements any pool that is 25″ or taller would work well for this woman while kneeling.
Another measurement to consider is your height from the floor to below your breast when sitting. After your baby is born, you will want to put her to your breast. This is important as is aids in the release of your placenta and is a wonderful bonding moment for mother and baby. It is also important to be able to comfortably have the baby on mom’s chest after birth as this is the best way to keep a baby warm.
So – mom needs to be able to have the baby’s head out of the water while on mom’s chest and while breast feeding. This means that if you have the water level too high then you will need to add a stool to the pool, take water out of the pool, or get out of the pool. The photo to the left shows a water depth that is too deep to nurse this baby. It also looks like mom is trying to sit on her heel to be a bit taller.
This depth looks good for nursing the baby and it seems that there is a good 6″ of head room with the water. This is the La Bassine pool and it is 25″ tall
Birth Pool in a Box Regular (shown to the left) is designed with a built in seat just for this reason. After the birth, the mother can sit on this seat and be high enough to nurse the baby. This pool is 30″ tall.
It is always a good idea to do a trial run in your water birth pool with or without water to see how deep you will want your water for kneeling and for nursing the baby after your birth. You can mark your pool with a permanent which will be helpful for the person filling your pool.
Many women are surprised that they don’t need the biggest pool available because they are six feet tall. The water birth pools we sell range from 22″ in height to 30″ in height. Labor for most women is a ’rounded’ experience. We do not stretch our bodies out in the water. We tend to keep our bodies in kneeling positions and for some women it is sitting. If you select a pool that is taller and will make it difficult to nurse after the birth, discuss with your midwife how you will help facilitate nursing without getting out of the pool.
Take some time to measure yourself as we describe above and feel confident that you are now selecting a pool that is right for your height.
Here is out pool comparison chart to help you see all our pools side by side: Pool Comparison Chart