K.D. BraininFounder & Director

How to get in and out of a water birth pool safely

Blog: 7.06.2017

One of the most important, basic and misunderstood aspects of water birth is the simple matter of women entering and leaving the birth pool.

There are important practical realities relating to Health and Safety regulations, good practice and plain common sense that must be adhered to.

Active Birth Pools have been designed to allow mothers to safely enter and leave the pool with the minimum of equipment and fuss.

The key factors that set our pools apart are the extra wide rims and lower overall height that enable women to easily enter and leave the water and the provision of a bespoke single step unit to assist her.

The facts:

1. The rims on Active Birth Pools vary in width between 15 – 20cm. They have  large (5-6cm) round bull-nose shaped edges which are not only ideal for holding onto but perfect for women to move across as they enter and leave the pool

2. The overall height of all Active Birth Pools is 75cm. This is considerably lower than other birth pools on the market many of which are closer to 90cm high.

3.  The median depth of our pools is 63.5cm.

4.  The height of the bespoke single step unit is 15cm.

5.  A woman of average height has an inseam length of 69cm.

6.  Therefore if a woman of average height steps up onto the single step unit to enter the pool her bottom will be approx. 9cm above the wide rim making it very easy for her to sit down and swivel into the pool.

7.  When leaving the pool the woman will have a margin of 3.5cm above the rim once again making it easy for her to sit down and swivel out of the pool stepping down onto the single step and onto the floor.

There are two ways for women to enter and leave the birth pool

1) She steps onto the single step unit, turns and sits on the rim of the pool.

Then she slowly swivels moving one leg, then the other across and over the rim to enter the water.


Charlotte steps onto the step unit assisted by her midwife


She turns and sits on the wide rim of the pool


 She turns and swivels…


one leg over…


and then the other


into the pool

2) She steps onto the step, turns sideways, holds onto the rim and lifts one leg over the rim and into the pool, then the other to enter the water.


 Charlotte places her hands on the rim while stepping up


lifts one leg over the rim


places her foot on the floor of the pool


and swings the other leg over the rim



and into the pool

Our single step unit places the woman slightly higher than the floor of the pool so she does not have to “step up” when entering the pool or “step down” when leaving the pool to reach the floor.

The mother should always be assisted by her partner or midwife when entering and leaving the pool to ensure her safety.


Once the mother has entered the water, the kneeling pad can be placed on the step unit to create a plinth for midwives to kneel comfortably on while attending the mother.

The bespoke single step unit and kneeling pad are supplied as standard equipment with all of our water birth pools.


The step enables women to safely enter and leave the birth pool with ease in accordance with Health & Safety directives.

Fabricated in Vitrite® composite this multi-functional step is extremely stable and solid and has an anti-slip patterned surface.

Warning: Multi-step units

Multi-step units that are often employed to help women enter and leave the birth pool present a number of clear problems that make them a liability in the eyes of Health & Safety inspectors and should not be used.

1) Multi or two-step units are as high as 40cm and often incorporate a handrail for mothers to hold onto.

While this may look like a sensible approach to employ for women to enter and leave the pool it actually presents unacceptable risks that do not meet Health & Safety regulations.

Women using these units must step up and over the rim and then down onto a seat/step that is submerged under the water.

The very act of a woman labour climbing up steps to a height of 40+cm and then stepping over a rim 80+cm high and down into a step under the water multiplies the risk of her falling or slipping exponentially.

Conversations with Health and Safety officers clearly reveal that they do not want women climbing up anything to get into the water.

2) When not being used by women entering or leaving the pool multi-step units obstruct the midwives ability to move around the pool and attend the woman to the best of her ability.

If the unit is moved away from the pool it takes up valuable floor space and presents a trip hazard.


Contact us
 for more information or a quote


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