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!