How to maintain the heat of your birth pool

How to maintain the heat of your birth pool

September 29, 2022

Once you have chosen the pool that best suits your needs, done a ‘dry run’ to make sure things run smoothly when it’s time to set up, fill, and empty your pool, you may like to consider how to maintain the heat of your birth pool, especially if you don’t have gas / continuous hot water. 

Planning this in advance means your partner and support person / people won’t have to come up with solutions during labour, and can spend more of their time and energy supporting you.

Here are some tips for maintaining the heat of your birth pool: 

  • Set up your pool on a carpeted area (rather than tiles, lino, wood), or on top of several woolen blankets or a duvet inner.
  • Fill the pool when it is needed rather than in advance (keeping in mind that it may take some time to fill).
  • Use a heat retention blanket or pool cover.
  • Use a woolen blanket over your pool cover to retain more heat. 
  • Use the pool as close as possible to your water source.  As water travels through the hose, it will lose a small amount of it’s heat, so the shorter the hose the better. 
  • Keep the air temperature warm by using your fireplace, heat pump, or heater.
  • Set up your pool in a room that is easy to heat, for example a small sunny room
  • If you have gas / continuous hot water, you can top up your birth pool using the filling hose supplied in your kit.
  • If you do not have gas / continuous hot water, it is a good idea to fill several large pots with cold water and heat them on the stove.  This way you can top up your pool with hot water as needed.  
  • Use a kettle (or two) to boil water quickly.  
  • You can also monitor the temperature of your birth pool with a birth pool thermometer or digital thermometer if you wish.

Precautions:

  • Always add hot water away from the labouring woman to avoid scalds.
  • Only add boiling / very hot water to existing pool water, never to an empty pool as this can damage the pool. 
  • Be very careful not to touch the edge of your pool with a hot pot while adding hot water.  This will pop the pool.
  • If you are considering increasing the temperature of your hot water cylinder’s thermostat, please seek the guidance of a qualified electrician.
  •  Do not use a heating element in your pool.  Heating elements pose the risk of popping or damaging your pool.

It is unlikely that you will need to use all these methods to keep your pool warm, however, there may be some ideas here that are helpful if the weather is particularly cold, or if your house is harder to heat.

For more information about setting up your birth pool and the filling and emptying process please see: ‘Birth pool dry run checklist’