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How to Select a Birthing Pool

What birthing pool is right for you?

Over the weekend, I did a slideshow on choosing the right birthing pool, which lists the pros and cons of all the major brands and types of pools that are available.  But with some of pros and cons why do they really matter?  How do you know what issues should be important to you?  I know I wasn’t sure when I initially started researching.  So if you want to find out what features matter under which circumstances, keep reading!

First, there really doesn’t seem to be “one perfect pool” for everyone.  They depend on a number of factors!  So choosing the right pool for you is totally dependent on your current needs.  What follows are some factors to take into consideration when making your decision.

Space

How much space do you have for the pool to go?  You may need to purchase a smaller pool if you have limited space, like the Birth-Pool-in-a-Box-Mini, or a kiddie pool…or even stick to your bathtub.  Ideally you will want to set your pool up on the same floor as your bedroom, so that you don’t have to go up stairs after your baby is born to get into bed.  For many people, this means setting up the pool in their bedroom.  How much space do you realistically have for a pool?

Number of People

Who’s getting in the pool?  Just you or your husband too?  Some women like their partners in the water, holding them.  Others prefer the partner on the outside of the pool, supporting them as they lean on the edge.  Some have older kids who will want to get in the water too, and others don’t.  This is a consideration, too, in choosing your pool needing a bigger pool if more people will be getting in it, and a smaller pool if it’s just you.

Height

How tall are you?  Some pools only go 18 20″ deep, which might be okay if you’re on the small side.  If you’re on the tall side, though, you will want a deeper pool, one which gets 26 27″ deep.  Some have noted that the deeper pools are hard to step into (you have to climb over the edge) while in labor if you are on the shorter side.  So, the height of the pool needs to match your height, as far as choosing one that is comfortable for you.

Uses

Is this the only time you’re planning to use this pool, or are you planning to use it multiple times?  Is it a used pool (perhaps borrowed or purchased from a friend) or a brand-new pool?  Will you want to sell it or lend it after use?  If this is the only use, you don’t need to be as concerned about quality because it doesn’t have to hold up over time.  This may mean a kiddie pool (which are very cheap) is fine.  If you are planning multiple uses, for yourself or friends, you may want to go for a more expensive, designated birthing pool.  If the pool will see multiple uses, especially by multiple people, you will want to purchase disposable liners to go with the pool so that clean up is easy and the pool is sterile each time.  Some pools come with disposable liners, and if you’re purchasing new, this can be a factor in your decision (some have liners you can purchase separately, which adds to the cost, and some don’t have liners available at all).  Most “personal use” pools can be used for 10 20 births, if properly cleaned and liners are used.

Cost

How much money can you realistically spend on a pool?  A bath tub or a kiddie pool are the cheapest options you have.  Most birthing pools are closer to $200.  If you’ll use it multiple times, it may be worth investing in a good one.  If not, or if you don’t have much money to spend, one of the cheaper options may work well for you.  (I used a kiddie pool for my son’s birth and it was fine.)

Water hook ups/Water heater

Any birth pool besides your bathtub is going to require a special way to fill it.  Usually this is a special adapter and a hose.  Some may be filled with buckets from the bathtub, but this can take quite awhile, as the smaller pools still hold over 80 gallons, and the bigger pools hold twice as much!  With a five-gallon bucket, well, it would take a long time.  Can you realistically use the adapter and hose, or will this not work at your house?  This is a consideration before choosing a birth pool.  Also, how big is your hot water heater?  If it’s small, it could take hours to fill the pool, and if you’re in labor and want to get in water now, well, that’s not so good.  You wouldn’t even be able to get in the shower while you were waiting on the pool to fill because that uses hot water, too.  Boiling water on the stove is another option for filling the pool, but that’s hard and potentially messy.  Consider carefully what your best option is here before selecting a pool.

As you can see, selecting a pool isn’t obvious!  It’s important to go through the pros and cons of each pool with your needs in mind, and select the pool that will work best for you. 

Personally, I think the Birth-Pool-in-a-Box-Mini is going to be the best option for me, because I am on the short side, I want a liner so I can have it for multiple uses, and I don’t have a ton of space to put it in.  It’s on the more expensive side, but not outside my budget.  So this should work well for me.

How did you select your birth pool?  Which did you select, why, and if you’ve already had your baby, did you like it?

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