Disposable Birth Pool Plugs? No!

Last week we had a request to supply a box of single-use, disposable birth pool plugs for a hospital birth pool.   We were surprised to hear that any Trusts were using conventional bath plugs in their birth pools. Here’s why. 

Cleaning a bath plug and chain

Birth pool plugs are not permitted to have chains on them (HTM64 Health Technical Memorandum). This is because you can’t attach the other end of the chain to anything because of the cleaning challenges, and the chain itself is also just another crevice where bacteria may breed. In theory, the plug chains are also a ligature risk.

Access to the birth pool plug by midwives

After I bath my children, I ask them to pull the plug out as I’m not keen on dirty bath suds up to my elbow! A hospital birth pool is MUCH deeper than even my children insist on. Leaning in to pull out the plug, probably right up to the midwife’s shoulder, through water which is likely to be contaminated with faeces and blood, isn’t ideal. While the midwife has already had their hands in the water, it’s not the same as trying to reach all the way down and not contaminate their uniform sleeves. Some Trusts have proposed providing the midwives with gauntlet gloves, but then there is the rigmarole of cleaning them, finding them, having pairs that fit everyone’s arm length… Far better to avoid the situation at all and not have disposable birth pool plugs!

Finding the plugs!

We still travel with a travellers’ emergency bath plug as many’s the time that we’ve ended up in a hotel or holiday home with no bath plug in sight. Imagine the challenge of trying to track plugs through the cleaning process and back again! So the obvious answer appears to be the disposable birth pool plugs that we at Aquabirths were asked to supply, but who will keep an eye on how many are left and when they need to be re-ordered? And of course, with a disposable item, there is always the…

Eco considerations

Every Little Counts and all that, and everything we can do to try to reduce the impact on our environment makes an impact. If we can move away from disposable items. Generally, disposable items in the NHS are incinerated, with serious ecological impacts. Disposable birth pool plugs are not necessary. There’s a much better solution…

Aquabirths’ Birth Pool Plug Solution!

Aquabirths do not supply hospital birth pools with disposable plugs. Our birth pools come with built in grated wastes and an integrated valve to stop water flowing out, or to release it after the birth. To “plug” or “unplug” the birth pool the midwife simply needs to open the valve!

Beautiful Birth Room at Barrow

Best birth bath ever

Though I’m proud of our bath, this article is about Estates Management.

Furness General is part of the Morcambe Bay Trust and includes Lancaster Royal and the Westmorland (Kendal).  Lancaster had a Canberra bath in 2011, and Kendal in early 2014.

All works to the rooms (new flooring, lighting, fittings, etc) have been overseen by their Estate Manager, Paul Coward.  If you are wondering how to go about a refit of a birth room or the installation of a birthing pool, I’d recommend you have a word with Paul as we never have jobs that run smoother than his.

Whilst we offer an installation service, it is possible to hire our expert plumber for consultation, so that he can advise or work alongside your plumber on site.  And now, we also offer training in fitting our birthing pools and Aquabirths accredited plumbers would then be eligible for a 10% discount on our baths.

New Birthing Pool at Barrow in Furness

Aquabirths Canberra birthpoolInstalled at Lancaster Royal Infirmary in December 2012 , then another at the Westmoreland (Kendal) in March 2014 and now there is one at Furness General.  All these are within the Morecambe Bay Trust where we have been working with the same Estates Manager throughout.  If there is an Estate Manager who wants to check how to have things ready for the installation of a birthing pool, contact Paul – he has it down to a T!