Home Water Birth

Practical Advice For A Home Water Birth

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the opportunity to labour in water for pain relief.

Warm water is proven to help relax the body and reduce pain during the birthing process.  A birthing pool can be used to enable a home water birth, or just as a method of pain relief for a home birth.

Preparing for your birth pool:

1. Consider the weight of the full pool before deciding where you want it e.g. if want upstairs.

2. Consider the location of the pool to ensure it will be within reach of the taps i.e. consider the length of the hose

3. Consider the size of the pool to ensure there is enough room to move around the pool (the midwife will need to be able to reach in)

4. Consider the location of the pool to ensure the hose will be within reach of a drain when emptying the pool

5. Have a practice run of inflating the pool and filling it with water:–

–         To make sure the pool inflates ok

–         To make sure the pool doesn’t leak when full

–         To establish how long it takes to fill (it should be around 2 hours)

–         To ensure all the equipment works – pump, hose etc.

6. Ensure you have all relevant equipment for your pool including:-

  • Pump (to inflate the pool)
  • Hose (to fill the pool)
  • Pump (to empty the pool)
  • Lining for pool (for hygiene)
  • Pool Cover (to maintain heat within the pool)
  • Step (for getting in and out)
  • Sieve (for clearing anything from the pool)
  • Thermometer (to ensure pool doesn’t get too hot)
  • Protective/waterproof covering for your floor

You may also consider the following for you/your baby:

  • Soft towel for your baby once they are born
  • Underwater torch (to help midwife see any birthing progress)
  • Water birth mirror (to help you/midwife see any birthing progress)

Using the pool:

Use heat cover to maintain the temperature of the pool.  Ensure the temperature is appropriate 35-37°C – or whatever is comfortable, but it mustn’t be above 37°C.

After using the pool:

The pool should take around an hour to empty using a submersible water pump.


Useful references: