Birth Pool Hire FAQs

Before you book pool hire with us, have a read through our FAQs. Hopefully, this page has all the information you need to know about birth pool hire by Greater Manchester Doulas CIC.

1a. Are you still hiring pools?

Absolutely! Many women are considering a home birth for the first time, and we support you fully. Our pool collection and return involve no contact, and our Holding Space sessions now take place online. 
If you aren’t sure of your options, you want to talk things through, or you are needing some last-minute birth preparation, we can support you with this. We will arrange your Holding Space session when you book your pool.

1b. How can I hire a pool from you?

If you would like to hire a pool from us the first step is to read through these FAQs then complete our booking form. Once we have received your request we will check our availability and get back to you as soon as possible. We aim to respond to all requests within 5 working days.  

2. How many pools do you have?

Currently, we have 24 birth pools in total; 

  • 10 Birth Pool In A Box Mini
  • 7 Birth Pool In A Box Regular
  • 4 La Bassine Standard
  • 3 La Bassine Maxi

However, the number of pools available varies as they don’t last forever, and we are reliant on donations to repair and replace them. Every donation will grow the scheme to more women. We appreciate every single donation, including unused liners and other birthing resources.

3. When should I book my pool?

As soon as possible! If there is even a 1% chance that you would like to loan one of our pools we would recommend completing our booking form. If for any reason your situation changes just get in touch and we can amend or cancel your booking. 

4. Which size should I get?

Here is a comparison of pool sizes:

Birth Pools comparison chart

For women over 5’8″ the BPIAB Mini pool / Standard La Bassine may feel too small to comfortably assume positions conducive to labour and birth, such as leaning on the sides facing out with legs extended out behind. If you would like your partner to join you in the pool, then whatever your height, the BPIAB Regular pool / Maxi La Bassine are more spacious. On the other hand, if you have limited space in the room you plan to use, you may be better off with the smaller options, even if you are over 5’8″. The buoyancy of water will be in effect no matter your height or which pool you choose. It is simply the amount of space you may have around you that will differ with which pool you choose.

5. Do I really need to use a liner?

Yes! There are a number of reasons we ask that everyone uses a liner, including hygiene, ease of use and longevity of the pools. As the pools are loaned out several times, each person using a liner extends the life of the pool. The liners act as an extra layer of waterproof protection should the pool leak, and also protect the seals of the pool which are the weakest part. The liner also makes cleaning up after the birth a much easier task!

When you have used your liner please dispose of it yourself, along with your hose – we cannot take these back from you or use them again unless they are still in their packaging (unused).

Please return the pool as you would expect to find it: clean, dry and in good working order. We rely on people treating the scheme with respect. Please pay special attention to the ‘exit point’ after you’ve birthed, and make sure the outer rings are clean there.

6. What if I no longer need the pool?

We understand that circumstances can change, we just ask that you let us know as soon as possible so that your pool can be made available to someone else.
If you have been told you are “not allowed” to use a pool or have a home birth, or you feel unsupported in your decisions and you’re not happy, please talk to us. We know there are many more barriers to happy home births than just finances.

7. How long can I use the pool for?

Our standard loan period is for six weeks, approximately from 37 weeks of pregnancy to 43 weeks. This hopefully will allow you enough time to feel prepared beforehand, and not feel too pressured to get it back to us! We do understand though that some babies need a little longer before they are ready to come earthside. If your baby is content to wait then so are we – please just let us know so we can adjust bookings accordingly.

8. How much does it cost?

Our hire scheme is free to use. However, we do ask for a suggested donation for anyone who is able to contribute.

A standard grade pool is only designed for a single-use but can often be used around five times before it begins to show signs of wear and damage. This works out at around £25 per birth, and a donation of this amount allows us to cover this cost of a pool and replace it when it can no longer be used.

Below are our suggested donations depending on your income:

Financial situation

Suggested donation

No income (including those who do not have access to their household income)


Receiving means tested benefits e.g. Universal Credit, Income Support


Receiving tax credits


Everyone else

£50 +

 The aim of this service is to make waterbirth an option available to everyone, regardless of their situation. If your circumstances would make it difficult to make a donation, for any reason, we understand and there is no expectation to donate!

For those who can comfortably contribute, it would go directly to supporting more families and allow the scheme to remain accessible to all.
Every donation is much appreciated, be it a monetary donation, an unused liner or other accessories that can be used by others.

9. How can I get the pool?

Please see temporary measures in 1a.
As your hire period approaches we will contact you to arrange collection from one of our community groups in South Manchester or from our homes in Fallowfield or Warrington – we will let you know which location you will need to collect from closer to the time. If you have any mobility or travel issues that could make it difficult to collect your pool from the given location, please let us know and we will do our best to arrange drop off and pick up if we can.

10. Do I need to buy anything else?

You will need a pool liner, hose, and a tap adapter, as these cannot easily be sterilised after use. Universal liners and non-toxic hoses can be purchased directly from us when we have them in.

Each pool is loaned with an air pump for blowing up the pool and a water pump (non-sterile) for emptying after you have given birth. 

11. Is there anything I need to do before returning the pool?

When you have finished with the pool please get in touch with us to arrange a day and time to return it. Please ensure that the pool is returned clean and dry and that both pumps are returned with all valve adapters in a clean, dry and useable condition. 

The running of this scheme relies on pools being cared for and returned in a good condition. We understand that on occasion accidents happen, please just be honest with us! 

It’s really easy to care for a pool, inside and out, but please ask if you need any advice on doing this.

12. Can I pass the pool on to a friend when I’m finished?

No, as we may need the pool for another booking. If your friend requires a pool please ask them to complete our booking form.

13. When will my deposit be returned?

Once the pool has been returned to us, we will check it over to make sure it is clean and check for any damage. We will then email you to request your bank details, and let you know of any charges. Once we receive your details we can return your deposit to you – this can take a couple of days to process.

We will take the following fee out of your deposit if the pool is returned;

  • returned late – £5 / day
  • wet or dirty – £40
  • damaged or returned without pumps – £80 (full deposit)