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Ruth Weston, BornstroppyBiog:

Ruth Weston mother, business woman, lactivist. Ruth is the mother of five children, four born at home and in water. She liked her waterbirths so much she took over Aquabirths as a small Yorkshire birth pool hire firm 15 years ago.

Since then she and her husband have grown the business, now, with midwives and doulas, designing pools and soft furniture for the NHS and around the world.

Ruth is passionate about women having good care and a good birth: she set up  ‘Choices in Childbirth’ childbirth group in her home 14 years ago which became a network of similar groups across Yorkshire and beyond with a regular monthly E-newsletter which you can subscribe to.

Ruth helped set up the MSLC in Bradford and Airedale and became its first chair. Ruth is now turning her considerable determination and energy to the delivery of continuity of midwifery carer and the reform of regulation for midwives – structural reforms she believes necessary for the delivery of humane maternity care for women.

For 25 years now I’ve been campaigning along side others to improve women’s experience of childbirth. Part of my work has been to provide the means and equipment for better birthing experiences: that may be knowledge and training or it may birth room equipment.
If you would like to sign up the monthly newsletter ‘Choices in Childbirth’ or ‘Choices in Childbirth for Midwives’, fill in the form below. Or click on the image below.

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Bornstroppy RuthWeston

I’m Group B Strep (GBS) Positive. Can I have a Waterbirth?

GBS testing is not routinely offered to women in the UK.  This is because it is considered that the high rate of carriage compared to the low rate of infection means that the harm done to women and babies in offering antibiotics to every woman who is carrying GBS would outweigh the benefits.

However, some women do end up being tested for one reason or another, and those who find that they are carrying GBS are often then denied access to water during their birth (unless they’re at home, in which case it’s always the woman’s own decision). Aquabirths asks, “Is this a reasonable position for trusts to take?”.

Many trusts are open to women birthing in water and some are not, and within trusts some midwives or obstetricians will deny women access to the trust’s pools, and others will be completely happy to support women who want to use a pool for their birth. What’s going on?

There is limited data on the impact of waterbirth on how many babies born to women who are carrying GBS, but what data there is shows either a reduction in the numbers of babies born underwater who are infected with GBS, or no statistical difference, but with a trend towards a reduction in affected babies who are born underwater. This is despite the fact that the water in a pool birth could have high levels of GBS in it, and therefore the theory is that the water is essentially washing the baby and mother, providing some increased level of protection compared to babies born on dry land. (1)

An article by JS Cohain (2) states that infection with GBS was 1/4432 in babies born underwater v 1/1450 in babies born on land – that’s three times as many babies becoming infected with GBS when they’re born on land than babies born underwater! The article discusses the reasons for this, including considering whether it might be “a massively successful international campaign has covered up the reporting of all deaths and disease from GBS after waterbirths.” There’s nothing like covering all bases!

Even though the evidence on GBS and waterbirth is limited and more studies are needed, if the trend was the other way – that more babies seemed to be infected with GBS when born in water – there would be no doubt that there would be a huge push to try to ban birth in water! Given that the opposite is true, and the best data that we have shows a trend towards fewer babies being infected with GBS when they’re born under water, opening up water birth to women who have found that they’re carrying GBS is something that every birth centre and obstetric unit should support.

Article by Emma Ashworth.

Many thanks to Dianne Garland for her help with this article.


(1) Springer Link, “Water birth: is the water an additional reservoir for group B streptococcus?” 

(2) Pubmed, “Waterbirth and GBS”

Further Reading:

AIMS GBS book, “Group B Strep Explained”

RCOG “Group B Strep and Waterbirth”

Practicing Midwife for the GBSS, “Waterbirth for women with GBS: a pipe dream?”

Dianne Garland’s book, “Revisiting Waterbirth” is due out in April or May 2017

Free BirthSoft Birthing Couch Kit

Aquabirths will include a free SoftBirth birthing couch kit with the Canberra, Venus and Heartshaped  models of our birth baths.  The SoftBirth birthing couch kit is usually £950 but is on offer at the moment at £795.  More details can be found at You can also copy-of-softbirth-birth-couchdownload their information flyer and spec sheet there too.  We’ve tried one out – it is very comfortable and unlike other couches, is not cumbersome and heavy.  The inter-changeable cushions make this a very flexible help for birthing and labouring mothers.  So, even if you’re not buying one of our birthing baths, you can still get it at the offer price.

Corner Baths

We’ve had a bit of a flurry of requests for corner baths, mainly from export customers, so we thought we’d better write a short blog on them.

The short answer is, ‘yes, we do make them.’ They are an excellent option where space is a bit tight but the hospital still want to give a birthing mum the option of a water birth.  Sometimes, corner baths are avoided as the midwives want to be able to access the woman from as many parts of the bath as possible.

Our Dunoon model birthing bath is ideally suited to being used in a corner.  It is already designed specifically to be compact and fit in smaller rooms but to still give a labouring woman plenty of room to move and keep active during birth.  It does this by virtue of its rounded rectangular shape and by using space wisely so that it still has the capacity of a birth.

The Dunoon can be fitted in any position and doesn’t have to go in a corner but if you let us know when ordering, we can include an extra piece of trim (at no cost) so that you can have a neat finish against the corner walls.

Dunoon compact birth pool

Compact Birth Bath for Labour and Post-partum Bathing

Bathing for labour and post-partum bathingAnother of our compact birthing baths for labour and post-partum bathing, the York model, is ready to go off to the Isle of Man.  With its verycompact birth bath modern  look, the York gives birth centres that luxury spa feel.  As with all Aquabirths pools, it is a one-piece construction for maximum strength and infection control as well as for ease of installation.

Midwives and waterbirth mums had a direct hand in this bath’s design, hence the broad rims and curves.  An additional feature they designed in was the excellent lumbar support.

Contact us for drawings, photos and offers for this birthing bath.

Our Contact Phone Number

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Our number is 0345 230 1381.  This rings to all our offices simultaneously and you will be able to contact us in office hours.  Very occasionally, customers are ringing a geographical number (starting 01274), possibly because their handset displayed that number instead of the 0345 number.

If you ring this geographical landline number, there is a very high chance you will not get an answer or, if you leave a voicemail, your message is never collected.

0345 numbers are mobile-friendly and cost the same as a the geographical 01274 number.



Ruth was at  continuity2016 and will be reporting more fully on her blog bornstroppy but in the meantime…

Two new baths ready for Abu Dhabi

The two new baths ready to be sent out to Abu Dhabi, shortly before being wrapped and crated.  A video tour / final inspection of the baths.  The steps and related equipment are boxed seperately.

The Softbirth Birth Couch Kit

Couch Complete

Softbirth©  have just launched their  range of soft furnishings for the birthing room.  The most exciting piece being their birthing couch kit.

With its simple yet innovative design, its segments can be moved around to suit the needs of the moment.  The stool segment pulls out to give a seat for the midwife or birth partner.  The recess can be used for the mother to kneel – a kneeling mat is included for comfort.  Other couches charge for other items, such as inserts, as an optional extra whereas they are included in the price of the Softbirth couch.

The foam used is very firm for safety’ s sake but it is topped off with memory foam to give a very comfortable feel. The comfort is enhanced as the design tries to get away from the ‘clinical look’ whilst still being suitable for the birth room.   Its approximate dimensions are 2m x 1m x 0.45m.  And whilst it is firm and stable, it is not heavy or cumbersome like other similar products.  It can be easily moved and deployed or put aside to clear space.

The cover is hospital grade and has welded seams and is fully cleanable.  The cover is zipped so that it can be replaced and to enable inspection (the inner of the cloth is white so that any ‘strike-through’ can be quickly spotted.  The zips are covered by hygiene flaps.  The couch can come in mid-lilac as shown or navy blue and replacement covers can be purchased either with the couch or later as a replacement.

SB-couch and cushions


Another optional extra is the comfort cushions set consisting of a pillow, a square cushion and a cylinder-cushion.  Larger versions of these cushions are available.

For prices, click here.

Fantastic Looking Birthing Pool


We had an email that came via the midwives of the Morecambe Bay Trust in response to our installation of a Canberra birth bath at Barrow (Furness General)

To whom it may concern,

I have seen pictures of the new birth pool in Furness Hospital on your website it looks fantastic. We are looking at developing  a water birth service in our hospital in Limerick in the Republic of Ireland.

We would like to get some information and details of the birthing pool.

I would be delighted if you could supply some information in relation to the birthing pool company and specification that was used.


Best birth bath ever