Birth Pool Hire FAQs

Before you request to book a pool hire through us, have a read through our FAQs. Here’s everything you need to know about hiring a birth pool from Greater Manchester Doulas CIC:

1. How do 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 five working days.  

2. How many pools do you have?

Currently, we have 18 birth pools: 

  • 5 Birth Pool In A Box Mini
  • 5 Birth Pool In A Box Regular
  • 5 La Bassine Standard
  • 3 La Bassine Maxi

The number of pools available varies as they don’t last forever, and we are reliant on donations to repair and replace them. Each donation grows the scheme to reach more women. We appreciate every single donation, from pools to patching kits.

3. When should I book my pool?

As soon as possible! If you are keen to birth at home, however many weeks pregnant you are, complete our booking form. Many women wait until nearly full term (for various reasons, but being under the impression “permission” is necessary from medical professionals is a big one) and then we have none left to loan. Don’t wait to be allowed – it’s always you who does the allowing.

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 and Standard La Bassine pools may feel too small to assume positions such as leaning on the sides facing out with legs extended out behind. 
On the other hand, if you have limited space 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. 

5. Do I really need to use a liner?

Yes, even for a wet run. 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, liners extend 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 unless they are still in their packaging and 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.

Recently we threw away multiple pools because they were returned with mould growing on the inside. This cannot happen if a liner is used, and the pool is cleaned and dried properly. For this reason we insist on liners being used. If the cost is prohibitive please let us know.

6. What if I no longer need the pool?

We understand that circumstances 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 loan period is for six weeks, from 37 weeks of pregnancy to 43 weeks. This hopefully allows you enough time to feel prepared beforehand, and not feel too pressured to get it back to us! 

If you would like to return your pool before your hire period is up that’s fine, and gives us more time to prepare it for the next birth.

We sometimes only have a gap of about a day between bookings to clean and check a pool before it goes back out again. This means it’s really important you remember when it’s due to be returned and get it back to us in time. There is a late fee for overdue returns.

8. How much does it cost?

A standard grade pool is only designed for a single use, but it can generally be used around five times before needing to be replaced. This works out at around £25 per birth, so a donation of this amount covers this cost.

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

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 for all local women, regardless of their situation. If your circumstances make it difficult to make a donation, we understand.

For those who can contribute, it goes directly to supporting more families and makes the scheme accessible to all. Every donation is appreciated, be it monetary, or unused accessories to be used by others.

9. How do I get the pool?

As your hire period approaches we will contact you to arrange collection from Fallowfield or Warrington. We don’t mind where you live in order to use the hire scheme, but we ask that you consider how you will collect your pool, and particularly how and when you will be able to drop it off. Delays in returning a pool have a knock on effect on us and other families, and incurs late charges by the day.

10. Do I need to buy anything else?

You will need a pool liner, hose, and a tap adapter. Universal liners and 10m non-toxic hoses can be purchased 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 its return. Please ensure it is clean and dry, with both pumps and their valve adapters. 

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 advice.

12. Do you offer any support around home or water birth?

Absolutely! Included in each hire is a funded Holding Space session, to help you prepare emotionally and practically for this birth. Don’t leave it til full term to book in with us – if you have your session earlier on but find you’d like support later on we’ll do what we can. Data we have collected since we started the scheme shows that women who have at least one session with us are more likely to birth at home.

Please see our offerings page for more information on our other services.

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, which can take a couple of days for our bank to process.

We will take the following fee from your deposit if the pool is:

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