# Do you have experience with a home birthing tub?December 5, 2016 8:05 AM   Subscribe

My wife is having a home birth with a water tub and midwife. The 2nd floor in our home makes the most sense for the tub in order to have access to a bedroom and other comforts. I am concerned about the weight. I have calculated the volume of water and the weight is around 3000 lbs. Is that too much weight for the floor? Have you had a birthing tub upstairs in your home? Any engineers want to chime in?
posted by pixlboi to Home & Garden (6 answers total)

Whether it's "too much weight for the floor" requires you calculate the load capacity of the joists holding up the second floor of your home (size of the beams? are they steel i-beams or wooden joists?), also specifically where you wish to place the tub (above a load bearing wall on the first floor?), and whether the joists are in good condition.

posted by Karaage at 8:32 AM on December 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Does your house have a basement or a crawl space? If it has neither of these it's probably built on a slab and its ground floor is likely strong enough for such a tub. Is there any way you can set up a comfy bed-like-room on the ground floor? Is there a bathroom on the ground floor? Consider also the possibility that your wife and/or baby might need to make a quick trip to the hospital, stairs could slow down that trip.

(PS, I had a home birth back in the 1970s and that baby is the father of a baby born at home; I'm all for it if the circumstances are right.)
posted by mareli at 10:20 AM on December 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

You're looking for a beam table. If you have any unfinished areas of your 2nd floor, you can see what size of floor joists you have, maybe figure out how long the span is (if you know where your load-bearing walls are), then you can get your load rating.

All that being said, most live-load capacity for occupied floor space* is 50-60 lbs/sq.ft, with 120 lb/sq.ft for the dead load. The dead load is the weight of the house itself, so don't count on any of that being available for your use. What is the footprint of your ~350 gal. tub? This seems like a bad idea, since most household bathtubs are only 30-50 gallons.

*My bungalow attic was intended for storage only and has a reduced live-load capacity (2x6 instead of 2x8 joists). It has not caved yet from our living usage, but that doesn't mean I don't worry every time we go into the room over the living room with the reaaaaaly long span...
posted by hwyengr at 11:41 AM on December 5, 2016

My wife have birth in a small birthing pool in our house. I looked at the weight it was going to put on the floor & decided that it was going on the concrete slab out the back of the house rather than on the joist supported floor in the interests of risk aversion :)

The British Standard for residential flooring is to bear a distributed load of 1.5kN/m2. 3000lb of water is ~1400kg & therefore about 1400 litres. I guess you’re filling it about a metre deep, so that’s a floor area of ~ 1.4m2 if it’s circular. So that’s ~1kN/m2.

If US standards follow UK ones, then you should be OK, but that’s not a huge amount of headroom. If you’re going to put it upstairs, make sure to place it as close to a load bearing wall as you can, ideally directly over one!
posted by pharm at 12:06 PM on December 5, 2016

Not what you asked for but: we put our rented birthing pool downstairs in the living room even though the bedroom and bathroom were upstairs. The tub initially leaked so it was a good thing we had it downstairs. Also, I did not have a problem with having to go up the stairs for other needs. I was moving around a lot throughout labour anyway. After I had the baby I lay on the couch for a couple of hours and was then fine to go upstairs.
posted by Dragonness at 12:09 PM on December 5, 2016

Ha! I thought I was the only one who did that mental math before birth. (Ended up delivering wayyy too quickly to even begin to fill it.) I think that the big question is whether the joists will bear the weight. Do you live in an old farmhouse or a new quickly built condo? Keep in mind that you won't be filling it to the top either.

Other things to think of - is the room close to a bathroom? You're going to have to fill AND drain it. Do you have enough water pressure on the 2nd floor to fill it in a reasonable amount of time?

And yay for home birth! I had two and they went off without a hitch!
posted by checkitnice at 2:15 PM on December 5, 2016

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