Birth Stools

There are many factors to consider when purchasing new equipment. Thinking about how easy or difficult it will be to comply with provincial standards for cleaning, disinfection or sterilization before purchasing each item will save time, trouble and money in the long run.

Question

Considerations

1

What are the cleaning requirements?  

  • Birth stools are classified as non-critical equipment. They require low-level disinfection (LLD) between clients (even if covered by disposable blue pads and not visibly soiled).

  • Visible soil must be removed prior to disinfection unless using a disinfection product which cleans and disinfects

2

Can I clean it?

·             PIDAC does not recommend wood for any healthcare devices or furnishings because the pores in wood can harbour microorganisms that cannot be removed by surface disinfection. Additionally, the joints and screws used in wood are not IPAC-compliant.

·             Although a marine-grade finish may make wood somewhat less porous, even tiny nicks and scratches will make disinfection less effective.

3

Are there better or easier to clean alternatives?

·             Birth stools made from stainless steel or plastics such as polyethylene and PVC are non-porous, making disinfection more effective.

·             Stainless steel and plastic birth stools are more likely than wood to withstand disinfection with healthcare-compliant products. Always check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before purchasing.

4

What is the IPAC plan for this item?

·             Ensure that the entire birth stool can be disinfected to PIDAC standards.

·             The cushioning material on the deBy stainless steel birth stool is porous. Some midwives report removing this cushioning and replacing it at home births with the client’s own towels wrapped around the frame, eliminating the risk of cross-contamination. The towels remain at the client’s home for laundering.

 

Aside from the considerations mentioned above, there are no substantial differences between birth stool brands. Each practice group should consider its own unique needs and circumstances when making purchasing decisions.

For general considerations and links to other equipment, see the AOM’s Equipment Purchasing Guide.