Euphoria’s Blog for Green Mamas

advice, news & freebies

Preparing a Birth Pool for your Homebirth July 30, 2009

Filed under: Pregnancy — Rachel @ 8:32 pm
Tags: , , , ,

If you’ll be giving birth at home, consider using a birthing pool.  Whether or not you decide to deliver in the water, you may enjoy laboring in a warm birth pool.  At one reader’s request, I did some research for choosing and preparing your birth pool.

Your midwife may offer pool rental services.  This is an eco-friendly choice, since professional grade pools can be reused to avoid waste.  Be sure to ask questions so you understand what type of pool you’ll be using.  Will it be big enough for one or two persons?  Maybe you’ll want your partner to support you while you labor.  Are the sides comfortable to lean against and high enough for your liking? 

Also, what about toxicity?  Most birth pools are made of vinyl, a phthalate-filled plastic that emits toxic fumes.  Unfortunately, vinyl seems to be the only reasonable option for an inflatable pool, but there are ways to limit the toxicity.  A new pool should be inflated and aired outside for 3-7 days (the longer the better), which will help toxic VOC’s to release.  Your midwife probably provides a reusable pool with single-use liners.  Ask if she can air out the liner for you, or leave it with you so that you can air it out.  If your midwife’s reusable pool doesn’t include a liner, find out what cleaners she uses to disinfect the pool.  Harsh cleaners must be rinsed excessively, so your baby isn’t born into a chemical soup.  If at all possible, choose to rent a pool with a single-use liner, so cleaners aren’t necessary. 

You may also choose to purchase your own birth pool.  Don’t worry about getting one with a heater built-in.  Vinyl easily retains heat, so this isn’t a problem for most births.  One of the most popular birth pools is actually a kiddie pool!  The Aquariumfishy pool has a padded floor and high sides that make it perfect for birthing.  Moms report excellent results with this pool, which is sturdy and strong enough to lean against.  Its affordable price ($30-40) makes it single-use without the need of a liner.  But, buying and throwing out a toxic vinyl pool every time you give birth is not so eco-friendly. 

I’ve only come across one birth pool made with phthalate-free vinyl – Birth Pool in a Box Eco.  At $190, this birth pool is not cheap, but it’s certainly well-made.  I can find nothing but good reviews!  It has a seat, handles for stabilization, adjustable height and disposable liners.  You’ll still want to air out this pool, but you’ll rest a little easier knowing that the plastic is more eco-friendly and non-toxic than other options.  Buy an extra liner for use when you do a test run.  And, when you’re done, you can store it carefully for your next homebirth or sell/give it to someone else who can use it!  The plastic can be damaged by extreme heat or cold, so store at room temperature. 

After purchasing or renting your pool, you’ve got some more work to do.  You’ll want to test drive the pool.  This sounds silly until you realize how many things can go wrong!  You need a tarp to place underneath to protect your floors and discourage slipping.  Next, you’ll need a pump for inflating the pool.  Depending on your pump, it can take 30 minutes+ to inflate.  If it takes long, consider keeping your pool inflated those last 2 weeks to cut down your setup time. 

To fill your pool, you’ll need an aquarium hose or RV hose that runs to your sink.  The shorter the hose the better, so as to keep that water warm.  Add to that an adapter so that your hose can be fitted to a sink in your house.  No, you don’t want to use a garden hose instead.  There are hygenic problems with that approach!  When you fill the pool, you’ll ideally use cold water for the first bit and then go to hot.  This is so that the plastic is not damaged by exposure to scalding hot water.  Lastly, you’ll need a method for emptying and deflating the pool.  The bucket approach works, but will take a looooong time.  With a newborn at hand, this is not a good time for tedious tasks. 

So many steps!  That’s why you need to do a trail run.  The trial will give you confidence that your pool is airtight and watertight, plus it’ll ensure that you have all the right parts on hand for the big day.  Be sure to time how long setup takes, so you know during labor what to expect.  You can shop for all the various waterbirth supplies to inflate/deflate and fill/empty your birth pool at Your Waterbirth.

Enjoy your birth!


The Birth Survey March 10, 2009

Filed under: Pregnancy — Rachel @ 8:44 pm
Tags: , ,

Pregnant with your first baby, you start to think about that all-important, rather intimidating day – the day you will give birth.  You want to be prepared, so you read books, take a class, talk to other moms.  But, how to choose the right doctor, midwife, hospital, doula, etc?  Word of mouth seems to be the best bet… but wouldn’t it be great if you could hear from hundreds or even thousands of moms about the practitioner you’re considering?

Giving women that kind of access to patient feedback and care-related statistics is the main goal of The Birth Survey.  The Birth Survey is an actual online survey put out by The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services.  Any woman in the USA can go online to fill out a detailed survey regarding her most recent birth.  You’ll be asked to give feedback about one or more specific health care provider(s) through straightforward ranking systems, along with opportunities for your comments.  It’s, “a mechanism to share, systematically track, and retrieve up-to-date information about the quality of care received” so that women can make informed, confident decisions about their caregivers and location of birth. 

Last week, I filled out the Birth Survey.  It felt so worthwhile to take a few minutes (about 20) to share my experiences, so that others can make an informed decision on this critical question.  Unfortunately, local results from The Birth Survey are only available to NY residents, as the survey was first released in NY in a testing phase during 2007.  After success in NY, they expanded the program nationally and have been collecting national results since.  They plan to release national results this year!  Let’s get involved and share the news to improve maternal care and transparency in our nation.  I hope that this database will help women who are considering homebirth or birth at a birth center to feel more confident about their “unusual” choice.  Seeing the statistics of different options side-by-side will really help those on the fence to see that midwives provide excellent, oftentimes superior care to healthy moms, and that those moms are usually quite delighted by their experience!

Click here to visit The Birth Survey now!


Home Birth for a Healthy Baby September 7, 2008

Filed under: Pregnancy — Rachel @ 6:02 pm
Tags: ,

Both of my children were born at home, with midwives attending.  Why?  Because I felt it was the best choice for my baby’s health and for my own well-being.  I’m not alone.  Check-out this interesting post about another woman’s choice to birth at home:


Doctor’s push to Outlaw Home Birth June 21, 2008

Filed under: Pregnancy — Rachel @ 9:14 am
Tags: ,

On monday the American Medical Association (AMA) resolved to introduce legislation outlawing home birth, and potentially making criminals of the mothers who choose home birth with the help of Certified Professional Midwives for their families.  What?!?  At a time when the UK is pushing for MORE mothers to choose home birth, the American Medical Association (AMA) wants to take away a woman’s right to choose home birth accompanied by a licensed professional!

Why?  The AMA says that the hospital is the best place for birth.  That’s a shocking statement, given the overwhelming evidence that most women have better outcomes when attended by a midwife at home.  When healthy women partner with a midwife to birth at home, 95% give birth vaginally, with hardly any intervention.  Compare that to the escalating C-section rates in our country!  The AMA offered no evidence to support it’s claim.  Since maternity care is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, one can’t help but surmise that their motivation is not pure. 

“Research evidence be damned, the doctors want to mandate you to go to the hospital. They don’t want you to have a choice.

We think they’re spooked. The cesarean rate is rising, celebrities are publicizing their home births (the initial wording of the AMA resolution actually took aim at Ricki for publicizing her home birth on the Today Show!), people are reading Pushed and watching The Business of Being Born, and there’s a nationwide legislative “push” to license certified professional midwives in all states (The AMA is against that, too, by the way).

The docs are on the defensive.

After all, birth is big business — it’s in fact the most common reason for a woman to be admitted to the hospital. And if more women start giving birth outside of it, who will get paid? Not doctors and not hospitals.”

from Docs to Women: Pay No Attention to Ricki Lake’s Home Birth.


The Business of Being Born May 15, 2008

This weekend I watched Ricki Lake’s documentary, “The Business of Being Born”.  I was absolutely blown away by the clarity and gentleness by which the film discussed what is so often a messy topic: what should birth and maternity care look like?  

The film brought together the voices of OB/GYN’s, Labor & Delivery Nurses, Midwives, Pregnant women and Postpartum mothers to take a fair, unbiased look a the issues at hand.  What issues, you say?  Well, when you look at the stats on maternal mortality, infant mortality, and c-section rates, the United States trails most every “developed” country and even lags behind certain “undeveloped” countries.  And this despite the fact that Americans put soooooooo much more money into maternal and infant healthcare!  We pay more and get less.  What’s going on here? 

You have GOT to watch the film to find out, but here’s a taste of the action from the director, “When my friend Ricki Lake approached me about making this film, I admitted to her that I was afraid to even witness a woman giving birth, let alone film one. I had never pronounced the word “midwifery” and I thought Ricki insane, as she planned the birth of her second child, for passing up an epidural in a hospital delivery.

But as I did the research, I discovered that the business of being born is another infuriating way medical traditions and institutions – hospitals and insurance companies – actually discourage choice and even infringe on parents’ intimate rites, ultimately obstructing the powerful natural connection between mother and newborn child.”

I LOVED THIS VIDEO!  If you’re pregnant, you should watch it.  It’ll give you such a realistic preview of what healthy birth looks like, including all types of normal births from vaginal to breach to medically necessary c-section.  It was inspiring to the point of tears, and entirely real through and through.  Before you make your birth plan, watch “The Business of Being Born”!