For your first child, I seriously would not bother.
We hired our birthing pool for 5 weeks for £90 which isn’t bad to be fair. Although it is basically a paddling pool (in fact my mate’s wife gave birth in a paddling pool rather than a ‘birthing’ one)
Everything was going great, until it came to the final stages – the bit where you have to do all that pushing…
Nothing was happening, so the midwives phoned an ambulance, which took well over an hour to arrive.
All the neighbours came out (even though most of them have never spoken to us) to see what was going on, and my wife was taken out on a chair in the middle of the road, which couldn’t have been the best experience ever.
She was exhausted, and in lots of pain by the time we got to hospital. What the home-birth groups and Daisy Foundation didn’t, apparently mention was the fact that once you are at a certain stage in labour, you can’t have any extra pain relief. Considering that 45% of home-births, for the first child, end up in hospital, it’s an important thing to consider.
So without any pain-relief (wasn’t allowed gas and air even, perhaps because of her shallow breathing) my wife was ‘cut’, and the baby was taken out with forceps. She was in so much pain, it’s borderline traumatised me, so I’ve no idea how bad she must feel.
Anyway, all is well, that ends well. We did have to go back into hospital because baby lost a bit too much weight, and Jo had to feed her every 3 hours, but all okay now. Thank God.