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About Rentals & Waterbirth

What does the rental include?

Reservation of full service includes the use of one AquaDoula birth tub, heating unit, tarp, disposable liner, thermal cover (for when tub isn't in use) fishnet and thermometer. Reservation also includes being on call and the physical labor of transporting, setting up, filling, pumping, cleaning and breaking down the tub.


How long does it take for me to use the tub?

How much does it cost?

The total cost of full service tub rentals is $400. Reservations can be made by paying a non-refundable deposit of $200. The remaining $200 balance is due before services are rendered. Deposits are required since we take a limited amount of clients per month to help ensure a tub and supplies are always available for reservations.

We can usually arrive at your home within two hours of your call for service. Once we are there it can take around an hour to set up and fill the tub, depending on your water heater. If you have a history of fast labors (<3 hours) we do not recommend utilizing our birth tub service.

What are the specifications of the tub?

The AquaDoula birth tub is 4'6" diameter and 25" deep, which usually can comfortably accommodate 2 adults. The water fill capacity is about 150 gallons and weighs approx. 1250 lbs when filled. It takes an average of an hour to completely set it up and fill as well as an hour to pump, clean and break it down. You want your hot water source within 40 feet from the tub location. We also recommend that you turn up your water heater to 'hot' when labor begins. Use of hot water in labor prior to the technician arriving can lengthen setup time significantly.

When do you recommend renting the tub?

We recommend making a reservation at 32-36 weeks gestation. Waiting any longer than that may mean we do not have a reservation available during your due date range (37-43 weeks). 

How do you clean the tub?

After use of the tub at a birth, our tub technician uses a submersible pump to remove water and debris by pumping it into a nearby toilet. Once the majority of the water is out, the liner is removed and discarded. The rest of the tub is then wiped down with a hospital grade germicide and packed for the next client. We use one specific hose for filling the tub (clean drinking water hose) and one specific hose with the submersible pump. The disposal hose and pump are cleaned by running a germicidal solution through both between uses. Tarps, fishnets, etc are thrown away and not reused.

Do I need any supplies?

The purpose of this service is to be as stress free as possible and that means you do no need to have any supplies in preparation for us to install your tub. However, we do recommend having some items available to help you have the best experience. This can include a healthy amount of towels (at least 6) so you have plenty for drying off when you get in and out of the tub and have one ready to lay one over you and the baby when they're born. We also recommend that you have a water bottle handy to ensure you are adequately hydrated during your waterbirth experience.

What temperature should the tub be?

Water should be maintained and monitored at a temperature that is comfortable for the mother, usually between 92-100 degrees Fahrenheit (32-38 degrees Celsius). Water temperature should not exceed 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) as it may lead to an increase in the mother’s core body temperature, which in turn may cause the baby’s heart rate to increase. It is a good idea to have plenty of water to drink to prevent dehydration and cold cloths for the mother’s face and neck. A cool facial mist from a spray bottle is a welcome relief for some mothers as well. If the mother is exhibiting signs of overheating, such as facial sweating or flushing, she should get out of the tub for a short period of time and the water should be cooled. 

How long do I get the tub for?

We understand that birth can be unpredictable and sometimes tubs are called for early in labor. However, please keep in mind that if a tub is in use for more than 48 hours, there are extra fees incurred. We recommend consulting with your care provider before calling for your tub. It is not appropriate to set up and fill a tub to be used over a week's time. When a tub is not in use, we recommend placing the thermal cover on top to retain heat and minimize dust and debris from getting into the water. To reduce risks of bacteria in the water, after 48 hours of use we must come drain the tub, replace the liner and then refill the tub. It is UNSAFE to keep the tub in operation more than 48 hours without exchanging the water. If a labor goes on for longer than 48 hours, a charge of $70 will be incurred for the price of a new pool liner and tub technician labor. After 72 hours a $100 charge will be incurred, for each whole or partial day.

What happens if an AquaDoula tub is not available when I go into labor?

At Living Water Birth Tub Rentals, we currently have two heated AquaDoula tubs available for service and try to take a limited number of clients per month to ensure everyone is able to enjoy their tub. If in the rare occasion two people are already in labor and using our tubs and a third is ready for service, we can coordinate with another tub service in town who may loan us a La Bassine blow up birth pool. At this time we are the only company in Des Moines that uses heated AquaDoula tubs. If you choose to utilize the La Bassine blow up birth pool, we will partially refund you $100. If that is not acceptable for you, we can refund your full service fee.

How soon after the baby is born will it take the first breath?

Water babies sometimes show a short delay taking their first breath only because they have not had the stimulation from gravity and room air while their head is being born, as opposed to babies born on land. Only after baby’s face greets the warm room air for the first time do they begin the miraculous switch from fetus to newborn. Water babies are gently lifted out of the water and placed on their mother’s chest where they immediately receive signals from their mother’s presence. Her skin keeps them warm while the baby’s heart begins pumping a large volume of blood into the lungs for the first time. It is only after the blood volume increases that the lungs become cleared of fetal fluid and the respiratory centers in the brain are stimulated. This process may take a full minute, so be patient. The baby’s color will gradually change and sometimes the baby will cry. Water babies are often very still and quiet, although extremely alert, eyes open and arms and legs moving. Those are all signs of a healthy normal newborn. A trained waterbirth provider will know to give the baby plenty of time to gently transition into newborn life. - Waterbirth International

What prevents baby from taking a breath while being born in water?

There are four main factors that prevent the baby from inhaling water at the time of birth:

  1. The fetus moves the muscles of the chest wall during pregnancy about 40% of the time. Close to the time of labor, the Prostaglandin E2 levels from the placenta rise, which cause a slowing down or stopping of those fetal breathing movements. As the baby is born, the Prostaglandin levels remain high, disabling the baby’s muscles for breathing. The muscles simply don’t work, thus engaging the first inhibitory response.

  2. All babies are born experiencing mild hypoxia or low oxygen levels. Hypoxia causes apnea (absence of breathing) and swallowing, not breathing or gasping. The first reflex after a baby is born is to swallow, not breath. The swallowing will allow the fluids that are in the mouth to enter to stomach.

  3. Fetal lungs are already filled with fluid. That fluid is there to protect the lungs, and keep the spaces open that will eventually exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. It is very difficult, if not improbable, for fluids from the birth tub to pass into those spaces that are already filled with fluid. One physiologist states that “the viscosity of the fluid naturally occurring in the lungs is so thick that it would be nearly impossible for any other fluids to enter.” The blood supply to the lungs is also very low during pregnancy and birth. This causes a high pressure within the lungs, thus keeping everything out.

  4. The mammalian diving reflex is an inhibitory factor that is present at birth in all humans as well as all mammals. It lasts in humans up to six to eight months. When the face comes into contact with water, the glottis at the back of the throat automatically closes and prevents water from entering the lungs. Any solution that enters the throat is swallowed, not inhaled. This allows babies to also breastfeed without aspiring the fluid into the lungs.

For a more complete description, please read Barbara Harper’s “Birth, Bath and Beyond: The Science and Safety of Birth in Water.”

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