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Winter is here and the cold can have a serious effect on your waterbirth pool.
Most companies, ours included, will send you an email notifying you that your order has shipped. When you are expecting an inflatable water birth pool to arrive when temperatures are below 50 degrees, be sure to make arrangements to retrieve your pool from outside after it is delivered as quickly as possible.
Temperatures below 50 degrees will make your inflatable water birth pool stiff and if the temperature gets low enough, even brittle.
Bring your pool inside as quickly as possible. Another option is to have your pool delivered to your local UPS Store so it will be kept inside until you can pick it up.
After you bring your pool inside be sure to leave it in the box to warm to room temperature for one to two days. When taking it out of its box for the first time, take note if the pool material feels stiff. If warmed adequately, it will be soft and easy to unfold.
If the pool is stiff and you unfold it, you may inflict cracks in the pool material which will cause air leaks.
Once the pool is soft and easy to unfold, you can safely inflate it.
It has been nine years since we first started selling inflatable pools for water labor and birth and we still learn from our customers new ways to damage pools : )
So… I thought it would be a good idea to clearly list what can cause problems with your inflatable water birth pool.
COLD: Temperatures below 50 degrees cause the material these pools are made from to become stiff and the colder it gets the more brittle the material gets.The pools can develop cracks and leaks.
To avoid this type of damage:
We provide shipping notices to all our customers. Be certain to retrieve your pool from outside as quickly as possible when it is being delivered during cold temperatures.
DO NOT remove your pool from your shipping box until it has been inside and properly warmed. Waiting 24 hours to 36 hours should do the trick. When you remove it from its box and it still seems stiff STOP. Let it sit for several more hours to warm and soften. If you unfold your cold rigid pool you can inflict cracks and leaks. Once your pool is warmed to at least 50 degrees – 65 degrees is even better, it will be soft and easy to unfold and inflate without damage.
AIR PRESSURE: These pools are designed to be inflated to firm but not extreme firmness. Over inflation may weaken the pool and lead to leaks or greater damages. Pools should be inflated only firm enough that when the laboring mother leans on the sides, it does not dip down more then 2-3 inches. Inflate the pool to proper firmness then check it again after some time to see if it has softened a bit and top off with more air.
Leaving your pool inflated until you need it is a great idea especially if you anticipate labor to go quickly. HOWEVER, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR POOL RIGIDLY INFLATED! Take some air off of all air chambers so there is minimal pressure on the pools seams. When you go into labor, top of the pool with enough air to having properly inflated.
WATER PRESSURE: Water pressure in these pools also place stress on the seams and material. NEVER leave water in your pool any longer then you have to. The pool will likely hold up and not burst but, you are shortening the life expectancy of your pool the longer you leave water in the pool. Drain and deflate it as the earliest opportunity.
Do not overfill your pool with water. Most water birth pools have fill lines on them. Filling past these levels create greater stress on the pool seams and material then it is designed for.
Of course, there are other hazards that can effect your pool. We have heard stories about cats, dogs, and kids. We have had midwives learn that you should not have scissors in your pocket when you lean on the pool and to not have metal stools and chair parts up against the pools. I personally split the side of an inflated pool when I tried to ‘gently’ roll the pool through an open sliding glass door. It was a snug fit and… I put a 1″ cut into the pool. Darn!
If you have any fun stories, we would love to hear from you!
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
I would love to hear from woman who have helped bring waterbirth to their local hospital.
What worked for you?
Was your care provider a nurse midwife or a doctor?
Was it a positive experience?
What would you do differently?
There are many expecting mothers right now trying to convince their hospital to allow them to labor and birth in water. This can be an overwhelming hill to climb for some. For others the job may be easier because there are hospital staff that support this option.
This may or may not be the ‘hill’ for you. If your personality is up for the task at hand, then great. But if you are someone who does not cope well with conflict, disappointment, and challenge, then this may not be a good project for you.
It is wonderful when you can easily find the perfect care provider who happily accepts your birth wishes. Homebirth midwife and home delivery. Nurse midwife at a birth center. Or OB/GYN at a hospital. But what do you do when you have limited options in your community and your birth wishes are not readily accepted and even turned down?
I am hoping that this BLOG can serve as a resource for those women trying to bring change to their hospitals and for those women simply wanting their wishes for how they labor and birth to be considered.
Please spread the word. I would love to hear from those of you who have succeeded and what worked and didn’t work.
Adding your birth partner to your pool…
This photo shows what every water birthing family wants. A cozy new family enjoying those first moments with their baby. I love this photo and this is just what you want to see after a birth. Everyone taking time to let the new family be.
But laboring in water is a different story. I have seen over and over again, that when the dad is added to the water birth pool, the mother stops moving about and ends up sitting instead of being on hands and knees.
Why are you in water? To feel more comfortable and to have ease of movement and, of course, a better transition for baby. Typically when dad or your birth partner enter the pool the couple end up sitting in the pool and mom becomes inactive.
I am not here to say, “Keep him out of the pool.” I am here to say, “Add him only if needed.” It is important to labor as undisturbed as possible and in water it is important to have your water space to yourself which will allow your body to move more freely. Undisturbed and free movement add up to a better labor and birth.
Your birth partner and meet your needs outside of the pool and if needed, simply add dad. But try to not plan on him being in the pool as an absolute. Leave yourself open to the idea that you will labor better with him close but not in the pool.
Read more here: Your Birth Partner