Why I’m Planning a Home Birth Without a Birth Pool


I’m frugal as hell, y’all know that. Remember the FREE maternity shoot I scored? Also, I found an amazing doula-in-training to attend our home birth, after which she’ll encapsulate my placenta for free as well. I’m all for anything that is either free or close to free. Ok, “close to free”‘ doesn’t even cut it – it’s gotta actually be free. If ya ain’t got it, I don’t see the need for it – Use What You’ve Got.

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As I’m nearing toward the end of this pregnancy, I’m preparing all the necessary supplies for a home birth. I’ll need the essentials, of course, like clean towels and disposable pads and the like. The stock image of home birth is synonymous with a big plastic floatie pool though, not bulb syringes or other necessary birth kit items. You’ve seen it: the classic, black-and-white photo of a mom’s head thrown back in awe/relief with a scrunchy newborn on her chest all swirling around in a floatie. That’s a home birth, right? Do I need a birth pool for a home birth? Can I still have a water birth without a fancy birth tub? I’m trying my best with “No, I don’t need the expense of a birth pool; and yes, I can achieve a peaceful (water) birth at home without one.” For our circumstance, we’re forgoing the “staple” of the ultimate home water birth: the birth pool to not only save money, but hassle and space.

Why I’m not having a labor and birth pool at our home birth:

We can’t afford it If we wanted to rent a reliable birth tub from a retailer, it’ll cost at least a couple hundred, according to my local google search. Even with the loaner birth tub (yep, just the tub) from our birth center, we still need pumps, hoses, adapters, and a water bill for a test run and the actual day. The La Bassine pool is 100 gallons. The kicker? It’s a loaner because it comes with absolutely no guarantee (or setup supplies) of actually working properly because it is prone to leaks. The risk of free is too risky, even for me!

I might not want to push in water With Humnoy’s birth, I was not allowed to actually birth him out in the amazing jetted tub in my hospital room. I had to get out if I felt the urge to push therefore he was a ‘land birth.’ I was satisfied with this so I do not feel that I absolutely, positively need a water birth to achieve the optimal home birth. Imagine how pissed I’d be if we splurged for the wretched birth tub and setup to not even use it. I hear this more often than not from other natural birthing mothers.

We live in an apartment It’s a cozy little living space perfect for a small family but add a birth tub and you’re really running out of space. We could put it at the foot of our bed or in the dining room but that will compromise the space for a midwife, a student midwife, a doula, and myself to roam around freely.

We live in an apartment with a spacious bathroom No joke – our bathroom has all this extra space. Not sure why exactly but it’s got it. It can fit plenty of adults tending to a laboring mother as I soak away in our (free) bath tub. It’s a deep bath tub and it’s a tub that you can sit and lay in and possibly pop a baby out! At least with something I already have, I can push in the water if I wanted but I also have the option of getting out if I wanted. With the extra birth tub, I would feel like I would need to use it because it cost us.

With just a few short weeks left of pregnancy, I am feeling really relaxed and confident about upcoming birth. Maybe I’m being reckless or even cocky, but I don’t feel the need to freak out about something my body has done before, never mind the change in setting and circumstances. My current mantra can definitely fall on ‘Use what you’ve got.’ I’ve got an awesome birth team and I’ve got my body. I think they will all know what to do.

Did you labor in water?

Update: The birth story

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20 thoughts on “Why I’m Planning a Home Birth Without a Birth Pool

  1. You go, Girl! Love this. What a great outlook and I’m proud of your decision! Use what you’ve got. I think it’s a great idea to use your own bathroom if you have the space. With your attitude I’m sure your birth will be everything you want it to be. Can’t wait.

  2. I used the bathtub at the hotel and it was more than plenty. I birthed kneeling up on my knees and the sides of the tub actually proved helpful to use for powering against during the event. I was surprised that I couldn’t handle a lot of water, and had to shut it off “ankle deep” after fantasizing my whole pregnancy about being completely submerged in the tub, it turned out different when I was in labor. So, just because you had a great tub experience the 1st time around doesn’t mean that it’ll even work for you this time around. Besides, the hassle of putting up the pool & taking it down interferes with the intimacy of the event. And, when you’re in labor, that shit is just 100% annoying!

  3. I had EVERY intention of laboring in the hospital tub, despite it’s tiny size for my 6’1 frame. I am a water-baby by heart, I love pools and lakes and rivers and I shower 2 times a day just to feel like “me” (don’t worry, showers are only about 5 minutes each). The first thing I did in the hospital was strip down and get into the tub. Which I promptly got out of. I felt scared and cramped and being fully naked and sweaty and vomitty-feeling and confined…it was no good. I ended up standing for most of my labor and sometimes resting on the exercise ball. So I don’t think a water birth is for me in the future, either, even if I do decide to labor at home!

    • It’s so interesting how so many labor stories are just like that – some mamas don’t feel like water is their element. Even though it seems like that’s only a small percentage though, I completely understand. I loved water with Humnoys labor, but it wasn’t a birth pool labor. It was a normal-sized bathtub labor with a shower sprayer, which I have in the comfort of my home!

  4. Good for you, can’t wait to hear how your special day goes. I am pregnant now with my fifth child so I really enjoy reading your posts. I only WISH I had the strength to have a natural delivery, but I’m a big baby!!! =(

  5. If you have a tub that’ll work, a pool would be totally unnecessary, but for us, I didn’t want the pool at all until the back labor started and it totally alleviated that. Had I no back contractions, I never have used it anyway so you may not want it. My midwife has a pool that she provided so I didn’t need to purchase anything for it, but even having gone through it all ready, I’d buy a kitty pool to put in our shower (our shower is huge) before I paid a few hundred for a birth pool so good call!

    • I am seriously envious of this huge shower you have! I was going to consider the kiddie pool route if the actual birth pool didn’t work out, which it didn’t anyway, but for reasons that would make kiddie pool pointless too. My reasoning also is that I achieved a natural birth in the hospital without a birth pool and used the crap out of the hospital bathtub. I feel good this time ’round too!

      • We just renovated our shower and knocked out a wall to do it. If we’re going to stay in our small condo for years to come with a few kids, we may as well be luxurious…really, my hubby does construction so he was able to do it himself. I’ve used our bathtub 1X and it was to clean off after my daughter was born so if it’s so necessary, the kiddie pool will happen for our next. Either way, you’re right, it’s not a need. I did like having it there, but would my daughter still be inside of me had it not been, no. Although, saying she was born in our kitchen, the only place where it would fit, is far more funny than if I said she was born on my bed covered in plastic.

  6. This is something I’ve been thinking about. I’m going to rent the tub ($200) simply the bathroom our tub is in is TINY (as is the tub) and when I labored in there with my first child for awhile before heading to the hospital, I just remember how cramped it was and my belly wasn’t even under water and just UGH. I’ve also wondered though if I’ll even WANT to be in the water this time. We shall see…

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