Have a Water Birth in Vancouver


Where can I have a water birth in Vancouver?

There are many advantages to having a water birth. You can easily water-birth at home if you have a bathtub, or you can rent or purchase a birthing pool.

What about having a water birth in a Vancouver hospital? Some of the hospitals have tubs in their birthing rooms for women to use as a comfort measure. However, whether or not you will be supported in birthing in the water will depend on who your registered midwife or doctor is, which nurse is assigned to your room, and the hospital’s policy. It is safe to say that it’s rare to birth in the water in our hospitals, and it is a matter of constant debate in the birth community to figure out whether or not water births are “allowed” at BC Women’s and St Paul’s Hospital.

St. Paul’s hospital has small bathtubs in all of its rooms. BC Women’s hospital has a few larger bath tubs in some of the rooms, but not all the rooms have tubs; some have showers only. Luck-o-the-draw dictates whether you get a tub room when you show up or not!

If you’re not located in Vancouver, ask your local hospital if they have tubs and support water birth. Or see if you have a birth centre in your area… or better yet, stay home and birth there!

Do I need to get a birthing pool, or can I use my bath tub?

An advantage of a birthing pool is its size and depth, allowing you to move around into various positions and still be immersed in the water. Women typically find it extremely comforting to have their bellies immersed in the water, and it is both comforting and helpful to the birth process if you can move around and change positions. Another advantage is that your support people have more room to move around the pool and can more easily support you.

What supplies do I need for a water birth? 

  1. Bath tub or birth pool
  2. Adapter to connect host to faucet
  3. Clean water hose long enough to reach from sink to the pool
  4. Air pump
  5. Submersible water pump for emptying pool.
  6. Disposable liner for the pool
  7. Tarp or plastic sheet to place under the pool (to protect the floor)

Where to BUY a birth pool  in Vancouver: 

Canadian Birth Products is the primary resource for pool purchases locally.

Where to RENT a birth pool in Vancouver 

Questions to ask your birth pool rental provider:

Jill Colpitts, owner of Mama Goddess Birth Shop offers this advices for people planning to rent a birth pool in Vancouver:

  • Does this rental come with all the accessories, including a NEW liner and a NEW hose, or do you need to purchase these items yourself? What is included?
  • Do you need to pick it up, or is delivery included with the price?
  • How long is the rental period for?
  • Are they renting professional grade pools (vs. single use pools)? Professional grade pools have thicker vinyl and should get more uses without getting rips in the seams.
  • Does it come with detailed set-up instructions?

*You can skip the headache of all of this research if you chose a birth doula who includes birth pool supplies and set up in her fee or by visiting my pool rental page.

Will my registered midwife or doula help me set up the birth pool?

It depends! If you are using a registered midwife for your birth, you will likely want to start using your birth pool before your she arrives. When she does join you, she will be focused on her clinical responsibilities. It is unlikely she will be able to help you with your pool.

Whether or not your doula will help depends on the doula. Make sure to ask if your doula will assist with set-up and tear-down of your birth pool before hiring her if you are planning a home water birth.

If you have chosen to work with a  traditional birth attendant, she will likely help you with all the water birth details as well.

I perceive my job to be to support you in whatever way you need so that you can focus on your birth. If this means preparing food, helping with older children, and dealing with the birth pool, I am on it for you. I want my clients to be able to focus on their births and their babies, not worry about emptying a birth pool! Here’s a story from one of my past home water birth doula clients.

Videos of water births:

I highly recommend watching the DVD, Birth With Gloria Lemay to see footage from 9 inspiring, peaceful home water births supported by a Traditional Birth Attendant.  There is an option on the DVD to view it with a very informative commentary. You can purchase the DVD digitally here.

Here are two of my fave videos of home water births in Vancouver (both of local prenatal class instructors – Gina from Truly Pure Birth and Crystal from Cultivate Your Health):


Jessica Austin, Birth Doula: Childbirth Services in Vancouver, BC

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  2 comments for “Have a Water Birth in Vancouver

  1. December 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Very informative post! I loved being in the water during Jaxon’s birth, the instant I got in I wished I had hopped in sooner! :) Thanks for sharing our birth video as well.

  2. December 19, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Awesome! I LOVED being in the water when I was in my birthing time and it was such an amazing experience to birth Madison very peacefully into the water and our waiting hands! We will definitely have another home water birth in the future!! Thanks for sharing our birth video :-)

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