Birthsoft Range

Aquabirths will be launching their Birthsoft (TM) range of furnishings for birthing rooms to help a woman keep active during birth.  These beanbags, sofas, pouffes and stools are made with foam covered in heat-sealed vinyl and are designed for the ‘birth spa’ feel in hospital maternity units.

Why you ring 0345 230 1381

Telephone operators, 1952

0345 numbers were released in 2007 to create new phone numbers that weren’t linked to a particular area, unlike the previous 01- and 02- codes.

For us, having an 0345 number means that we can staff our phones at all times, no matter where everyone is. It means that you won’t miss us, whatever happens: if the phone lines are down or one of us is off sick we can adapt and make sure your call still gets through.

However, because some phone number types have high charges, we’re aware that numbers other than 01- or 02- can worry people. So we want to reassure you that we cannot legally make any money from the 0345. It costs you the same as an 01- or 02- number. We have tried some other alternatives in the last six months but they’re not stable enough to rely on. It’s simply a practical solution that helps us make sure you can always get through.

Occasionally we come across a customer who would rather not use our 0345 number. It’s not a problem and if that’s the case for you, just ring our mobiles or email us and we can organise an alternative number for you to use.

There’s some reassurance about how 0345 numbers work on the Area Codes website:

“All phone numbers beginning with 03 work in the same way. Although they differ from traditional landlines by not being linked to any specific location, they cost the same to call – this is a legal requirement put in place by the UK telephone regulator, Ofcom.”

Nice to see Nice guidelines… and still a way to go!

Today, a guest blog from my Aquabirths colleague, Lucy Sangster, who’s been looking into the guidelines.

It’s been good to see that the new Nice guidelines – for care during low risk births – reflects more of the research that so many birth activists have been jumping up and down about for so long.

For example, it says “Do not clamp the cord earlier than 1 minute from the birth of the baby” unless there are serious concerns, and “If the woman requests that the cord is clamped and cut later than 5 minutes, support her in her choice”. That feels like some well needed progress.

The admission that hospital care can create harms seems obvious if you’ve been in the business for years, but the media reaction shows that there’s still a long way to go until everyone takes that on board. Positively, the guidelines have been taken seriously and presented as thoroughly researched. Interestingly, the general media reaction has been complete surprise and inevitably, the counter voices have concentrated on “risk” and “danger”.

The killer quote has to be Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, who said on Radio Four’s Today programme, that midwife led units didn’t work in isolation, that transfer to hospitals was safe and effective if needed, and that outcomes were still better for women who transferred to hospital care than for those who started out in hospital. Considering these transfers are the sudden emergencies and potentially dangerous situations, it is striking that they still do better than women starting out in hospital! (Listen here, from 1:34:30)

In the same feature, Sarah Fishburn, the lay member of the group that worked on the guidelines said that the evidence doesn’t make clear why hospitals lead to worse outcomes, but that other settings tend to be more relaxing, comfortable and with fewer interventions.

Given that the guidelines concentrate on “good communication, support and compassion”, it is however a real shortcoming that the evidence on team midwifery and on continuity of care is not covered. Cathy Warwick said “The guidance as it stands suggests that team midwifery may not be the best model of care. However, recent research shows that team midwifery can help to ensure continuity of carer whilst also delivering other high quality outcomes,” in the Nursing times article.

So will it lead to changes? It’s refreshing to see front pages of the papers talking about the evidence instead of scare stories, but the research on general views about birth has suggested that many women still aren’t aware of this evidence and that it will take more work to change birth culture. Whether the money will follow to create midwife led units in the areas where there isn’t that choice now remains to be seen. Germaine Greer spoke about it this week and said that there’s been a lack of follow through from Government and society on women’s issues that have been ongoing for years…

With thanks to the BBC for use of the image of the Mirror front page. There’s also a lovely article from the Telegraph here.

LED lights for birth baths

LED light for Aquabirths bathWe often fit these lights to our own baths but it is possible to retro-fit them to other baths.  If your bath already has an older light that is larger than this compact one, we can supply an adapter to cover and reduce the hole.

The advantage of LEDs, aside from their much lower consumption, is that they last much longer.

Special Offer on Birthing Pools for Wales

Aquabirths in Wales ~ Aquabirths yng Nghymru

 We’ve opened an office in Wales! To celebrate, Aquabirths is offering a range of large discounts on birth pools to hospitals in Wales and hospitals serving Wales: Chester, Shrewsbury, Oswestry, and Hereford.  This may be just the opportunity your service needs to increase access to this popular birthing option for women.

You can save 20% off Canberra, Venus and Heart-shaped model birthing baths.  York baths will have free delivery.  As an example, the Canberra and Venus models are usually £4500+delivery and VAT, they would be £3600.

The large Heart-shaped birthing pool, which can be stand-alone or fit against an IPS, is nearly £1000 off.

The Dunoon, our budget compact birth bath comes with free delivery, saving you at least £250.

If a refurbished, as new, pool would suit your budget better, we can offer you two York model birth baths for the price of one.

As celebrities like Holly Willoughby raise awareness of the benefits of a water birth, you may well find you have more women wondering if it’s for them. With our offers making it easier than ever, we’d love to see more women able to get the pools they want.

Contact Ruth or David 0345 230 1381

Offer ends 1st March 2015.

Comments please – canvassing ideas for birth baths

At a recent conference attended by Ruth, a German midwife recounted how she used a much deeper container as a waterbirth pool .  With this in mind, what do you, midwives and birth practitioners, think.  It is not the bath that Ruth is stood in, rather its something to indicate depth.  We have a design but there’s no point going into production if there is no call.  Alternatively, we might start making it for the export market.  Do let us know you thoughts.

ruth new deep bath2 ruth new deep bath

A heart-shaped pool, designed with love

When Leeds General Infirmary was chosen to appear on “One Born Every Minute”, they knew they had to make their water birthing facilities really special. Two of the student midwives Debbie and Coral were asked to find out more.

Speaking to Ruth and David, it was clear that Aquabirths knew how to adapt their pools to make the best of the room available. Particularly, it was their collaborative approach that helped the Leeds’ midwives feel that they could influence the design.

David drew up plans based on their ideas. Then, because they wanted something special, Mick the pattern maker made a wooden mockup of a birthing pool so that the midwives could try it out for themselves. They stepped in, laid back and suggested ways to make it work better for labouring women. Their suggestions led to Aquabirth’s unique heart shaped birthing pool.

Our midwives test it for themselves

Lobed birthing pools are particularly difficult to design because women of different heights need different places to sit or brace their feet. Another supplier had tried and failed, but our midwives trusted Aquabirths to make it work.

The plumber, Malcolm, then helped our midwives to understand the ins and outs of the plumbing involved. That helped them choose the longer lasting but heavier quarter turn ball valve, because as they said, “we’re harder in Leeds!!”

All this and Aquabirths completed the work in record time to make sure everything was ready for filming. The room is now an impressive mix of a generous heart-shaped pool, with LED mood and star lighting: the perfect home from home for labouring ladies.

Our Unique heart shaped birthing pool at LGI

Working together made an awkward space beautiful

Not every potential water birth room is a perfect fit for the standard birthing pool models. But at Aquabirths, we aren’t deterred by that. In Rotherham, our designer David’s first step was to look at our tried and tested pools and redesign the closest match so that it fitted the space.

After several visits where the midwives laid out their ideal plans, David shared his ideas – but not just on paper – he brought a life size cardboard model so that everyone could see for themselves.

By getting all the midwives, David and the Estates Manager in the room with the model, they were able to make sure the design lived up to the midwives’ dreams whilst meeting the Estate Manager’s safety needs. Getting everyone together got the best decisions made and everyone signed up to the plans.

The final design kept the plug socket more than three metres from the pool, enabling women to listen to their choice of music during birth. Without the bespoke design, that feature wouldn’t have been possible and it’s now one of the favourite features of the women who use it.

The Venus birthing pool at Rotherham

Legionnaires Disease and Water Birth – An Update.

Please be clear this alert is NOT for baths and birthing pools filled from domestic or hospital hot water systems which are then emptied or pumped out when cooled or used.

This IS for heater filter units which re-circulate warm water.

This is not about these circulatory systems being innately dangerous either – just that the sanitization and effectiveness of all units now have to be checked to ensure safety before being hired out or used.

There is a potential for contamination if the unit is not fully disinfected, or the unit is not working properly or the users do not follow the strict instructions.

Investigation is under way. So, if you have one, lend one, or hire one, then contact your local Health and Safety Dept at your local authority to get advice on ensuring this awful situation does not happen to you, a loved one, or a customer.
Every good wish
Press Release Text:
Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England have temporarily advised against the home use of birthing pools with built-in heaters and recirculation pumps, potentially filled up to 2 weeks in advance of the birth. This follows a single case of Legionnaires’ disease identified in a baby born in this specific type of birthing pool at home. The baby is currently receiving intensive care treatment in hospital.
Samples taken from the heated birthing pool used have confirmed the presence of legionella bacteria, which cause Legionnaires’ disease. Tests are ongoing to establish if it is the same strain which infected the baby. This is the first reported case of Legionnaires’ disease linked to a birthing pool in England, although there have been 2 cases reported internationally some years ago.
NHS England has today issued a Patient Safety Alert rapidly notifying the healthcare system – and specifically midwives – to the possible risks associated with the use of these heated birthing pools at home. The alert recommends that heated birthing pools, filled in advance of labour and where the temperature is maintained by use of a heater and pump, are not used for labour or birth. In the meantime, a full risk assessment into their use is being carried out.
The majority of birthing pools used at home are filled from domestic hot water systems at the time of labour – these birthing pools do not pose the same risk and are excluded from this alert. There are no concerns about these types of pools as long as pumps are used solely to empty the pool and not for recirculation of warm water.
Professor Nick Phin, PHE’s head of Legionnaires’ disease, said:
This is an extremely unusual situation, which we are taking very seriously. As a precaution, we advise that heated birthing pools, filled in advance of labour and where the temperature is then maintained by use of a heater and pump, are not used in the home setting, while we investigate further and until definitive advice on disinfection and safety is available.
We do not have concerns about purchased or hired pools that are filled from domestic hot water supplies at the onset of labour, provided that any pumps are used solely for pool emptying.
PHE and relevant local authorities are investigating the infection control measures required for this type of birthing pool and local authorities will be working with the small number of companies who supply these heated birthing pools for use at home.
Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said:
Women planning birth at home using a traditional pool that is filled when the woman is in labour or using a fixed pool in an NHS unit are not affected by this alert and should not be concerned. Birthing pools in hospitals are subject to stringent infection control procedures and monitoring. Home birthing pools filled during labour come with disposable liners and are only in place for a relatively short time period, reducing opportunity for bacterial growth.  Any women with concerns about using home birthing pools should contact their midwife or local maternity unit.
Legionnaires’ disease is extremely rare in childhood, with only 1 case in children aged 0 to 9 years reported in England between 1990 to 2011.The infection does not spread from person-to-person – people become infected with the bacteria through inhalation of contaminated water droplets.

And when things go wrong

All our baths come with a guarantee so that if something does go wrong and it’s our fault, we come and repair or even replace the bath.

We set up this business to make sure midwives and mums had the option of waterbirth at a sensible price and so we always look to make sure we’re as helpful as possible to midwives.  In any business, from time to time, something goes wrong and it is how it is dealt with that tells you about that business.   If something goes wrong with a bath and it’s our fault, we will get it sorted and as quickly as we can.  We want women to have a good birth. That’s it.


A hospital sent us photographs of damage to a bath. They may not have been sure who’d manufactured, so they sent it to us and our UK competitor.  Our response was to say, ‘that photo looks like our fault’ and have booked to get down there and repair.  Our competitor sent it round to hospitals to try and cause bad feeling.  You can compare the contrasting ethics.

The hospital he’d emailed certainly did.  It backfired.  This was their affirming response to us –

“I’m reassured to the fact we’ve opted for the correct product and the ideal manufacturer/service provider and partner.

 I too dislike sabre rattling by competitors.”

Ruth and David and all at Aquabirths are there for midwives. End of.