AquaDoula Birth Tubs

Tubs are currently available for all due dates.  You must pick up and return the tub in Mountain View.
You can also rent from national rental agencies.

I maintain some birth tub kits for use by my clients and for rental within 20 miles or so of Mountain View, CA.
I will not ship these tubs.

Tub rental for non-clients is arranged by e-mail only.  I will not respond to telephone inquiries for tub rentals.  To inquire about tub availability around your due date, please check with me by e-mail to midwife at - [You have to repair the e-mail address!] Please let me know your due date and the city where you live.  Thanks.

Loan of these tubs is free of charge for my clients who choose the Deluxe Care Package.  Clients choosing my Standard Care Package get preference for rental of these tubs and a significant discount.

AquaDoula tub - $250 rental fee for the same equipment as available from the national AquaDoula rental people (minus the rubber duckie, and with a different cover) - ideal for short-term use (up to two days without replacing the water) for labor and birth for first babies.  (The rental fee is about the same as for renting from AquaDoula but without the additional $150 round-trip shipping fee.)  The reason I particularly recommend the AquaDoula (or other rigid-sided tub with heater) is that first labors typically go on for some number of hours, and you need the heater to keep the water warm.  Also, the rigid sides are good support for squatting in the tub.  This tub is also great for subsequent babies, but if you have a limited hot water supply, you may have to wait for your hot water heater to heat more water, and you may not have time to fill it before the baby's born!  [54" diameter, 24" deep, 175 gallon capacity, with heater].  There is an additional $100 fee if you choose to rent the Deluxe Accessories Kit.

You may want to read through the AquaDoula instruction manual or the additional instructions I provide for a sense of how these tubs are set up and used.

You are responsible for pickup, setup, cleaning/packing and returning the kits in condition suitable to be sent right out again to the next family.  If you choose to rent the Deluxe Accessories Kit, you are responsible for sterilizing the re-usable plastic parts before use, according to the instructions provided.

Tub pickup and return is done at my office in Mountain View, California.  (These tubs are easily carried in almost all vehicles.  In any case, it is wise to clear your car out as much as possible, including removing car seats, etc., especially if you are coming a significant distance.)

My primary occupation is as a midwife, and I offer these tub rentals as a way of supporting the local homebirth community rather than as my primary business.  This means that the rental kit will not be as tidy as you might get from a national agency; if this is going to bother you, then I encourage you to rent from the national agencies.

The regularly scheduled window for tub pickup and dropoff appointments are Sunday from 5 to 7 pm; you must schedule and confirm your appointment .  I might also be able to offer you other times before or after my irregularly scheduled office appointments, but there is no guarantee of this.  If you are not able to manage the Sunday 5-7 pm pickup and dropoff time, then I encourage you to rent from the national agencies. Alternatively, you may request to schedule a pickup or dropoff at a time of your choosing for an additional fee of $50.

To inquire about tub availability around your due date, please check with me by e-mail to midwife at - [You have to repair the e-mail address!]; please let me know your due date and the city where you live.  Thanks.

Some frequently asked questions:

Is the tub too heavy for a second-floor apartment? No, weight is not a problem in any normally sturdy building.  Most concerns about weight (such as pianos and waterbeds) is that they are a long-term stress on the structure.  Birthing tubs are a very short-term stress.  The weight of the filled tub is about the same as three large football players.  If you would be comfortable holding an open house and having three large football players standing in a group talking with each other, then you should be comfortable that your structure will support a filled AquaDoula tub.

How long does it take to set up the tub? For someone who is familiar with the AquaDoula or has actually read through the instructions carefully, it takes about 15 minutes to set up.  Otherwise, it might take more like 30 minutes.   Time to fill it with water depends on your water pressure and hot water supply.  Shortest fill time would be about 15 minutes, but if you need to wait for your water heater to reheat water for another couple of fill cycles, it may take several hours.

How long does it take to dismantle the tub? Depending on how effectively you get air bubbles out of the drain pump, it can take 15-45 minutes to drain the tub. Most of the time required to pack up the tub is in allowing the pieces to dry out (can take days), laundering the sheet, etc.  The actual dismantling of the tub is probably about 5 minutes, and then it takes another 15 minutes to fold the permanent liner and pack the pieces up.

How much space does it take up when not set up?  The tub frame spirals in to a compact diameter of about 2 ft., and all the basic AquaDoula parts fit inside that.  The Deluxe Accessories kit comes in a Rubbermaid tote container that is about 20" long, 13" wide and 17" height.

You can read more about waterbirth questions at Waterbirth International.

To Test the Heating Element

Just a reminder . . . always unplug the tub when not filled with water to avoid a fire hazard.  Leaving it plugged in when it's not filled with water could trigger the heating element, which could fry itself when not cooled by water.  Then you won't have a working heating element, and the tub won't work properly for you, and it could become a fire hazard.

To test the heating element:

Do not ever leave the electrical stuff plugged in for more than a minute when it's not set up and filled with water, even if it doesn't seem to be heating up!

The heating pad will only warm up when the thermostat tells it to, i.e. when the heat sensor is cooler than the temperature setting on the little thermostat box.  And, of course, the electrical parts need to be well seated, which is a common problem.

So, to do a good test:

  1. Make sure all the electrical connections are firmly connected and well seated, but don't plug it in yet.
  2. Make sure the heat sensor (one-inch black plastic bulbous part at the end of a wire) isn't in a hot place
  3. Turn the thermostat down as low as it goes.
  4. Now plug the GFCI part into the wall.
  5. Test the GFCI unit and Reset.
  6. Set the thermostat to high
  7. The thermostat lights hould go on solid, and the heating pad shoudl warm up within a minute.  I fit feels warm at all, then it is working.

Immediately turn the thermostat down and unplug it.

ALWAYS unplug the tub when not in use.

Common Problems

People sometimes call to report that the tub isn't working properly.  This is usually caused by:

If tht tub seems to be leaking a bit, it's probably condensation.  If the tub is set up for quite a while, you can accumulate as much as a gallon of condensation between the permanent liner and the disposable liner.  (We can tell it's not a leak because there is often a bloody tinge to the inside water that is absent in the water between the liners.)  This is why you need to protect your floors!


Comparison of the AquaDoula with the Spa-N-A-Box portable spa

I no longer offer the Spa-N-A-Box portable spa because it is difficult to transport in smaller cars, but you can rent one from Gentle Beginnings - Labor and Waterbirth Tub Rentals for the Bay Area - (707) 745-5943 - she delivers mostly in the Berkeley area (into San Francisco and as far south as Fremont on the east side of the bay), but she might offer rental if you're willing to pickup and drop off from her office in Santa Rosa, or  if you're further away, you could offer additional payment for her additional time and expenses in driving further.

The Spa-N-A-Box has a heater/jet unit which cannot be completely dried out, so you must run the tub through a disinfection cycle with bleach or other chemicals before use, and then, ideally, drain it and refill it again.  In addition, because the external heater must pump the water to heat it, there's a constant noise and water movement, which some moms don't like during labor.  In my experience, they're equally efficient at heating and or keeping the water hot, i.e. they both take about 24 hours to heat room temperature water up to 98 degrees.

However, the Spa-N-A-Box portable spa is ideal for long-term prenatal use (up to two weeks between water replacements) for hypertension, cholestasis, severe swelling/edema, or musculoskeletal pains, or for women expecting very fast births who want the tub set up and ready to go at a moment's notice without draining/refilling every other day.  [50" inner/58" outer diameter, 24" deep, 170 gallon capacity, 1480 lbs. "wet", with heater, jets, and locking soft cover]

[For other people considering getting the Spa-N-A-Box  for rentals, I also found that the heater got flaky with all the moving around and had to be shipped back to Florida.  The electrical parts are more complicated and thus more susceptible to damage than the AquaDoula.  Basically, the Spa-N-A-Box  isn't meant to be moved around every month or so!]

I also maintain information about other local tub rentals and national rentals.

I no longer offer inflatable tub rentals, but here's the information about them, in case it's useful to you:  The 60" and 72"inflatable tubs from Sevylor.  (There are pictures of the 60" pool in use available from an online waterbirth album.) - these are- ideal for second or subsequent babies in homes where you can't leave a tub set up OR you have a limited hot water supply.  These tubs can be set up and filled in about twenty minutes with a single draining of most water heaters. [60" tub specs: 48" inner diameter, 60" outer diameter, 22" deep, 72 gallon capacity?, no heater - 72" tub specs: 60" inner diameter, 72" outer diameter, 22" deep, 112 gallon capacity?, no heater].  There is also a new inflatable tub designed for birthing - La Bassine.


This web page belongs to Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, homebirth midwife and hospital doula