We run a free, community birth pool hire scheme for women in and around Greater Manchester. We want to make birth pools accessible to everyone who wants to use one. Please like our page on Facebook and get in touch if you want to hire!
Manchester Community Birth Pool Hire Scheme
Birth Pool Hire Frequently Asked Questions
How do I go about hiring one of your pools?
Simply send a message to our Facebook page and we will get back to you! Please be aware that we are volunteers though, so may take a few hours to reply, although we aim to respond to all queries within 24 hours 🙂
What areas do you cover?
Anywhere in Greater Manchester – Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the cities of Manchester and Salford. Even if you’re a little outside this area e.g. Buxton, Macclesfield, we may still be able to help you so get in touch.
How soon should I arrange to hire a pool?
The sooner the better! As we are a free community-based scheme, we get booked up very quickly and often have busy spells where all of our pools are in use. We would rather you booked with us as soon as you decide you would like to use a pool for labour, in order to avoid disappointment and unnecessary stress.
What if my plans change and I decide not to use a pool?
Just let us know as soon as possible. We understand that circumstances can change, so we don’t take a deposit in order to book, only at collection (this is in the form of a cheque, which remains uncashed and is returned to you when you bring the pool back).
How long can I have a pool for?
Our standard pool loan is for 6 weeks, approximately from 37 weeks of pregnancy. This is to allow you time to get the maximum benefit from the pool, do trial runs, use it for relaxation and hopefully not feel pressured to get it back to us! We do understand though that some babies like a bit longer to cook, if your baby is content to wait then so are we- just let us know and we can adjust bookings accordingly (this is really important in busy periods!)
How much does it cost to hire a pool from you?
There is no fee for hiring a pool, although a contribution towards the costs of maintaining and purchasing more pools is always very gratefully received! We ask for a £100 deposit in the form of a cheque when the pool is collected- this is not cashed and will be returned to you when we receive the pool (and any pumps/attachments loaned) back in good condition.
No Fee? So I guess you’re sponsored by the birth pool companies, right?
Ah, unfortunately not, that would be lovely! The pools are either donated to us by people who own a pool but don’t intend to use it again, or bought by us using money from donations and fundraising drives.
In terms of cost, a standard grade pool is only designed for a single use, but can often be used around 5 times before it begins to show signs of wear and damage. This would roughly work out at £25 per birth. The professional grade pools the scheme buys last far longer but cost more initially, although this is offset by fewer repairs/write offs!
But… what if I can’t afford a donation?
The aim of the scheme is to make water birth an option available to everyone, regardless of finances. We don’t have a suggested donation amount as any donation is most welcome, be it a couple of pounds or an unused liner.
Do I need to buy any extras?
We do ask that you purchase a liner for the pool and also a hose and tap connectors, as we are unable to sterilise these. Some of our pools come with manual or electric inflate/deflate pumps which I will confirm when you book your pool. You may also want to consider obtaining a water thermometer (I used the one I’d got for my baby’s bath) and a sieve! Glow sticks in the bottom of a birth pool can provide cool lighting. With regards a water pump, you may purchase one, however we usually recommend a siphon technique for emptying the pool, as it’s often more effective and free 😉 There is a good explanation of the technique at http://www.wikihow.com/Siphon-Water, I recommend method 2 as being the easiest! You can also use the siphon technique to fill the pool if you are having trouble finding a tap connector to fit your tap.
Why do I need to buy a liner, I thought you said the scheme was free?
We ask that you use a liner for several reasons, hygiene, ease of use and longevity of the pools being the main ones. As the pools are loaned out several times, each person using a liner extends the life of the pool. The liners act as an extra layer of waterproof protection should the pool leak, and also protect the seals of the pool which are the weakest part. In terms of hygiene, whilst we thoroughly check and clean the pools, they are not sterilsed. The liner also makes cleaning up after the birth a much easier task- meaning more time can be spent getting to know the new arrival!
Where can I buy a liner, hose and other accessories?
Birth pool liners can be bought directly from www.birthpoolinabox.co.uk, as can hoses. Please contact us for a 10% discount code. Ebay is also a good source as sometimes people don’t use them and sell them on cheaply. Hardware stores such as B&Q are often good places to source tap connectors. Occasionally we may have new liners available to purchase directly from us.
How do I get the pool?
When the availability of a pool is confirmed for you, collection can be arranged. The pools tend to be loaned from our home address or at a meeting of the Greater Manchester Homebirth Support Group. We are based in Edgeley, Stockport and the support group runs monthly meetings at Stepping Hill Hospital Womens’ Unit in Stockport and Oldham library. Unfortunately we are unable to deliver and collect pools due to the voluntary nature of the scheme.
How many pools do you have?
We currently have 8 pools available for hire (2 mini and 6 regular sized ones). They are called Kitty Rose, Tree house (pro), Wild Peacock (mini), Iris (pro mini), Jonah, Aurelia, Lake Fortescue and Charlotte Willow.
What make are the pools?
The pools are made by Birth Pool in a Box (BPIAB for short).
How big are the pools?
The Mini Pool has external max dimensions of 165 x 145 x 71 cm where as the Regular Pool dimensions are 193 x 165 x 76cm. The pools are egg-shaped so if those measurements are taken as a rectangle, the pool will fit inside that space.
A Regular pool weighs around 1430 lbs when filled and around 1606 – 1694 lbs (roughly 10 – 13 adults) including a pregnant woman. A Mini pool comes in at around 1056 lbs when filled, 1232 – 1320 lbs when in use (around 8 – 10 adults).
A solid floor is preferable, or putting the pool in the corner of a room with joists that are rot-free, where there is more support. We cannot guarantee that your floor will support the weight of the birth pool.
How long does it take to fill the pool?
Fill time can vary wildly depending on the type of hot water system you have. Most modern on-demand combi boilers can fill a pool in 40 minutes or less. However older style central heating systems with an immersion heater and hot water tank can take considerably longer, over 2 hours, and you may find yourself boiling kettles and pans of water on the hob when the hot water runs out. You can do a test run with your pool to be sure or test how long it takes to fill the bath: the regular pool is approximately 4 bathtubs full of water and the mini pool is 2.5-3 bathtubs.
How do I set up/take down the pool?
You can download a PDF with full instructions on how to use and fill the pool from:
I have a birth pool/accessories I would like to donate to your scheme, what should I do?
Fantastic! All donations are very gratefully received. Please get in touch with us by messaging the page so we can arrange to receive your kind donation.
Wasn’t there a recent warning about birth pools being dangerous due to Legionnaires’ disease?
Yes but this warning only applies to heated pools that are filled prior to the onset of labour and where the temperature is maintained by a heater and pump. This does NOT refer to the birthing pools we supply which are filled at the time of labour. For further information please see the NHS England Patient Safety Alert: http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/psa-legionella-birth-pool.pdf
Want to talk to parents who have had a homebirth and pick up a few tips?
Join our facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/manchesterhomebirth
The information provided on this website is intended for guidance only. Greater Manchester Homebirth Support Group and the Manchester Community Birth Pool Hire Scheme cannot be held liable for any loss, damage, costs, expenses or any claims for compensation which may arise from hiring one of our pools or equipment to you or your property.