What you need for home water birth

What you may need:

  • The pool itself – you may like to partially inflate or set up the pool, and then finish it off once labour has commenced Some have suggested having a nice throw over to hide the birth pool if you think you’re going to have a week’s worth of prodromal labour or you’ll be wanting to jump on it and pop holes in it by about day three! You may like to have the pool in the garage or a spare room to keep it out of the way too.
  • You can put pillows or soft mats underneath or around the pool, under waterproof layers, for extra softness and padding
  • You may like to have other materials for waterproofing floor and furniture, such as more tarpaulins, drop sheets, shower curtains, etc.
  • You may choose to hire a califont for instant hot water, or:
  • A spare electric jug – handy to have 2 on the go for topping up pool or for hot towels. You may consider running these from different circuits to avoid an electrical overload.
  • Clothing: bra, T-shirt, bikini top, sarong, or something you find comfortable to wear in the pool if you don’t want to be naked.
  • Lots of old towels. Old woolen blankets are good as they are very absorbent
  • Sieve or net or similar for collecting floating poo from the pool
  • A water thermometer to check the pool heat is optimal
  • An insulated cover for the pool will help keep in warm when not in use
  • A small mirror if you want to see crowning
  • A small torch if lighting is low


  • You may need to turn off your smoke alarms if there is a lot of steam
  • Check the strength of the floor where you plan to locate the pool. Ground floor rooms are more likely to be strong, as are corners, in a bay window, or above a supporting wall. A full pool with a labouring woman is no heavier than 10-12 adults. If you would have a gathering in the room, you can probably rest assured about having a birth pool in the room.
  • Think about how you plan to empty and fill the pool, so you aren’t worrying about it at the time.
  • If you are planning to take photos, consider what these will look like in relation to the colour/patterns on the pool. An alternative liner or sheet can be used to customise the pool for your labour and birth pictures.
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