The Aquaborn Eco Birth Pool is cost effective.
It is easy to assemble.
It is comfortable to use.
It was difficult to maintain the correct temperature.
There was a strong plastic smell when the pool was first opened and which lasted for several days.
Having a water birth is an amazing way to experience labour and childbirth. It provides natural relaxation and pain relief (when used correctly) and provides the baby with a gentler entrance into the world â from liquid into liquid. I recently gave birth at home using an inflatable birth pool called the Aquaborn Eco Birth Pool. Overall my experience with this pool was good, but I felt it would be helpful to share both positive and negative aspects with others who are interested in having a water birth and may be considering this particular pool.
When compared with other options on the market, the Aquaborn Eco Birth Pool is very cost effective. We got ours on sale for Â£99, and it retails normally at about Â£129 for the pool and Â£169 for the pool and kit, which includes thermometer, bag, sieve, one electric pump for inflating the pool and one electric pump for sucking out the water once you are finished with the pool. For this price (plus the cost of shipping) you get to keep the pool and it is under warranty for two births. There are two disposable outer liners included.
Other options are to hire a more elaborate birth pool from a company like Gentle Water. It costs Â£250 and you only get to keep it for four weeks. These pools do have solid sides and come with a heating system which keeps the pool at the optimum temperature of 37 or 38 degrees celsius, so that is partly why the cost is so much more. However, if you are willing to manage the pool temperature yourself, the Aquaborn pool is one of the most cost effective ways to go, especially as you can use it twice.
EASE OF ASSEMBLY
The pool has quite straightforward directions for assembly and when you buy it with the kit, comes with an electric pump for inflating it. However, we found that the electric pump was so noisy we preferred to use our manual foot pump. The time which the foot pump took was equal to or less than the electric pump took when we did our trial run. It took around two hours to inflate and fill the pool.
The pool itself was very comfortable. Getting into it once labour was well established provided a wonderful and soothing experience. Though inflatable, the sides of the pool are so sturdy that I could easily put my whole weight on them by leaning , hanging or sitting on them. The floor of the pool is also inflatable, which made for a very padded and comfortable surface to sit, kneel or stand on. Aquaborn do a small version and a large version of their pool. We had the large version and found the depth was very good, allowing for me to completely submerge myself when I sat down and giving my body a good amount of coverage when I leaned over the edge. I felt the size overall was very good and accommodated for both myself and my partner.
MAINTAINING THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE
The most negative aspect of using this birth pool was the challenge of maintaining the correct heat. Once the pool is brought up to the correct temperature and has its lid on, it will only lose a small amount of heat every hour. However, in our case, once the lid was off and we were actively in the pool during labour, it felt to me as if someone was having to empty out water and refill the pool quite regularly. We happened to have someone present who was available to do that, but it was somewhat of a distraction and did require constant monitoring.
The other problem with temperature was that the thermometer which came with the pool had a tendency to measure the temperature of the water at a couple of degrees lower than it actually was. This was because it fills with water and measures the water inside the plastic casing. If you do not keep emptying out the thermometer you won't get an accurate reading. We discovered this to our detriment, when close to the end of labour my partner and I began to seriously overheat in the pool. The midwives measured the temperature with their thermometer and discovered it was two degrees higher than we thought. We caught it in time not to get too exhausted, but I would caution anyone labouring in a very warm pool for any length of time not to allow themselves to get overheated as this can lead to exhaustion and possible complications with the birth process.
The only other negative aspect I can think of is the strong smell of plastic that the pool and lid emitted for some time after they were opened. We had to completely wash and rinse all the surfaces of the pool and leave it out in the open for several days before the strong chemical plastic smell was reduced sufficiently. It never completely went away and I noticed the smell in the room on the day when the pool was set up for the birth. However, by this time it was not very strong and once we were in the throes of full-on labour, I don't recall noticing the smell at all. So if you do decide to go for this pool, I would recommend rinsing it and allowing it to air out for at least a few days before using it.
I would recommend this pool and I would use it again. If I did have the option, however, I would seriously consider using a birth pool with an automatic heat regulating system, as this would allow everyone present to focus on the birth, rather than on regulating the temperature of the pool.