K.D. BraininFounder & Director

Health, Safety & Manual Handling

Blog: 6.01.2017

There are a spectrum of issues that relate to the pool and the way it’s used that must be considered.

Micro-organisms thrive in environments that are warm, dark and wet.

Manual handling issues relating to midwives comfort & wellbeing, movement around and in the pool, entering & leaving the water and emergency evacuations need to be thought about.

Active Birth Pool’s Approach

We believe in keeping things simple.

We believe in dealing with infection control issues by removing the risk.

Our water birth pools are cast as a seamless piece of Ficore®, a superior material unique to Active Birth Pools.

We’ve thought about the physical dynamics of mothers & midwives and developed innovative & intelligent solutions that optimise their experience.

Active Birth Pools meet or surpass all relevant Healthy & Safety and Manual Handling requirements.



A serious infection control & injury risk

Any metallic fitting attached to the pool presents risk.

Mothers & midwives can bump into them and injure themselves.

Surface mounted metalwork such as grab rails, taps and handles are an obstacle that comes between mother and midwife.

These fittings ALL present a serious infection control risk as the space between the surface of the pool and the fitting are perfect for bacteria.

The handles we use:

  1. are fabricated in medical grade stainless steel
  2. are mounted into recesses on the rim to safeguard the mother from injury
  3. are fully sealed into the fabric of the pool to meet safety requirements

Removable equipment

  • Removable equipment such as headrests, cushions, seats & birth stools are a prime infection control risk.
  • Items like this should should not be used for water birth unless they can be cleaned and disinfected 100%.

Doors are a Class 1 Infection Control Risk

Some water birth pools are equipped with doors

The point of the door is not clear.

  1. Do mothers enter the pool, close the door and sit waiting for the pool to fill with water?
  2. For emergencies do midwives wait for the water to fall below door level to open it and evacuate the distressed mother?
  3. When it’s time for the mother to leave the pool does she have to wait for the water to empty before leaving the pool?

There is no good or practical reason for water birth pools to be equipped with doors.

Doors have seals and seams that provide the perfect environment for bacteria to breed.

Some water birth pools have tiled or panelled surrounds

These present not only significant infection control issues but are incredibly uncomfortable for midwives to work wit.

The use of grouted tiles like you have around your bath at home is absolutely out of the question.

Tiled surfaces set with grout and Others have panel systems with exposed seams or joins.

They cannot be cleaned & disinfected reliably to high standards and present a very high infection control risk!


Active Birth Pools approach to emergency evacuation

We have worked with Manual Handling Experts to design water birth pools that provide a safe & simple means for evacuating mothers in case of emergency.


Multi-step units present a number of clear problems

1) Multi or two-step units often incorporate a handrail for mothers to hold onto.

While this may look like a sensible approach it actually presents unacceptable risks.

Mothers must step up and over the rim and then down onto a step 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 in use the multi-steps become an obstruction and trip hazard.


Active Birth Pools approach to getting in and out of the pool

One of the most 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.

Version 2

Midwives comfort & support

The photo above says it all – you can see how supported, comfortable and relaxed the mother & midwife are.

One of the main complaints midwives attending water births have is that they suffer from back and neck pain.

Midwives spend many hours by the pool.

They need to be comfortable and supported to be able to fulfil their roles effectively without risk of injury.

Seated comfortably on a Saddle Seat with her legs well under the rim and arms resting on the rim the midwife is supported and in perfect balance.

Over the past 30 years we’ve compiled a treasure trove of water birth related knowledge.

You’ll find our reference library an invaluable source of information and inspiration.


Contact us for more information or a quote

Contact us for more information or a quote


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