About us

We helped pioneer the use of water for labour and birth by designing
the water birth pools that made this revolution in maternity care possible

Active Birth Pools was conceived in the mid-80’s following founder Keith Brainin’s meeting with water birth pioneer Michel Odent. Michel spoke enthusiastically about the benefits of water for labour and birth but, there were no specially designed water birth pools.

At the time Keith was co-director (with Janet Balaskas) of the Active Birth Centre. He knew that there was interest from mothers and midwives and set about developing the world’s first specially designed birthing pool – a portable pool that mothers used for home and hospital births.

Obstetrician and water birth enthusiast Yehudi Gordon was so impressed that he commissioned Keith to design a water birth pool for the Garden Hospital. Keith worked with the team of midwives and healthcare specialists to ensure that every consideration had been taken into account.

Childbirth guru Sheila Kitzinger and midwife Ethel Burns visited the Garden Hospital and were inspired to raise funds for the John Radcliffe Hospital to install one of the new pools. Active Birth Pools was now firmly established as the pre-eminent supplier of specially designed water birth pools.

“When asked about the history of birthing pools in hospitals, I mention the day when Keith Brainin realised that special bath tubs might be designed and commercialised to meet the needs of labouring women.”
Michel Odent – water birth pioneer, obstetrician and author

“I have had the pleasure of working with Keith Brainin since 1985. His expertise in birth pools is unparalleled. The high standard of the birth pools has resulted in them withstanding the test of time and many births”
Yehudi Gordon MB BCh, MD, FRCOG, FCOG SA

In 1995 Keith entered into a collaboration with Health Service ergonomist Sue Hignett. She was aware that water birth was gaining popularity, but thought that the pools in use should be redesigned to better serve the needs of mothers and midwives.
More info:  Improving Birthing Pool Design.

These pools marked a quantum leap forward in birth pool design. The extra-wide rims and cut-away surrounds made the pools much more user friendly. Mothers and midwives were ecstatic – they couldn’t believe how much more comfortable and supportive the new pools were.

In 2014 Keith had the good fortune to move manufacturing to Design & Form. Based in Lancaster this long established firm fabricates our  pools by hand from a highly specialised material called Ficore.

These water birth pools were a game changer. The designs were now realised as one piece of seamless, curvaceous flowing form with a highly polished, tactile finish that’s warm-to-the-touch.

We’ve achieved success by keeping things simple and focusing on our core principles of Safety, Value and Performance.

A passion for excellence and commitment to helping mothers and midwives have a better experience defines our approach.

We’ve supplied 1,000’s of birthing pools to hospitals worldwide and through this experience developed the capabilities to give you 1st class service wherever you are.



Our unrivalled knowledge and wealth of experience enable us to provide water birth pools that minimise risk, optimise results and maximise value.


“Keith’s water birth pools are not only are they gloriously spacious and inviting, they are made to the highest specifications and considerations to maximise comfort and safety. In short, they are second to none!”
Sheena Byrom OBE -Activisit, Midwife, Speaker and  Author

“We have two Venus Birth Pools and couldn’t be happier with our purchase. They are ergonomically friendly for providers while offering adequate depth for the mother to allow her to explore positions in labor. Easy to clean. Superb quality.”
Amy Johnson-Grass, ND, LN, LM, CPM

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