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Manual handling in birthing pools

Incident reports show there are manual handling risks to midwives and auxiliary staff who assist with births in pools from the routine tasks they carry out.

A report, Manual handling risks to midwives associated with birthing pools: Literature review and incident analysis has been produced which shows that the majority of incident data reviewed were manual handling related. The manual handling risks are likely to result from the position of the mother in the pool, the position of the midwife whilst undertaking tasks at the birthing pool, and when actively supporting a mother's entry / exit into the pool or the mother using the midwife as a support whilst entering / exiting the pool.

The research identified a range of measures that may help in reducing manual handling risks, including:

The research also identified appropriate procedures that should be in place for dealing with emergency evacuation from the pool.  These include:

Equipment to help in emergency evacuation might include an evacuation net, floatation aids, a slide sheet, a pre-positioned height-adjustable bed or trolley, or suitable hoist and slings.

Further information on the findings of this research can be found in the full report.

Updated 2021-01-06