My lovely midwife gave me a list of things we needed to get ready for our homebirth, and – no surprises here – but I lost it! I’ve been trawling the web looking for the definitive guide on things you need to prepare for a homebirth but ‘definitive’ is so subjective.
I absolutely love how Homebirth.org.uk puts it – “All you really need for a homebirth is a pregnant woman and a home, but sometimes a few other things are handy”. Isn’t that just my philosophy for birth and parenting?
So what are those ‘handy’ things that you can have ready and waiting for labour? (Ideally in a box or bag so that there’s no running around searching for stuff on the day!)
For the birth:
- Birth Plan. If you end up with a midwife you’ve not seen before, she’ll need to know your birth plan, so have a copy in your birth box
- A plastic liner for outside the pool, should you have to climb out to give birth
- A plastic liner for the sofa/bed for delivering the placenta
- A towel to cover the plastic – for comfort and to not slide off
- Towels, sheets or bed wetting sheets to absorb liquid (this is where a waterbirth is so much less fuss)
- Garbage bags for double bagging trash (although the midwives will probably have human waste bags that go back with them to be incinerated)
- A tub for the placenta, if you’re saving it, and space in the fridge/freezer
- Food and snacks
- Reminder chart for positions in labour and birth
- Flashlight/torch with batteries
- Playlist ready and spare batteries
- If using a birth pool, make sure to do a trial run and to keep all the ‘bits’ together.
- Towels for if you are getting in and out of the pool
- Many women vomit during labour. Have a sick bucket in reach, just in case. No one wants to be cleaning up puke during labour. Also useful for disposal of other body wastes!
- Hot compress or flannel for perineum if you are birthing outside of water
- Hand mirror – to see crowning, but also if so midwives can see what’s going on without disturbing your position
- Ambience enhancers – music, candles, aromatherapy oils. I honestly cannot remember if we lit the candles during my daughter’s birth or not?! I know I needed a fan on me during transition, so am very glad we had one in the house or I might not have been able to stay in the water, despite it being the ‘right’ temperature. The music was wonderful and I sang along to it – quietly- during transition and remember the exact song my daughter was born to.
For the mother-to-be:
- Your birthing outfit, should you wish to have one
- Hot water bottle, if that helps you with period pains
- Maternity Pads
- Something clean and comfortable to wear after the birth
- Squeeze bottle filled with a sitz bath solution for after birth urination
- Postpartum tea (Alfalfa, Penny Royal and Shepherd’s Purse)
- Sitz bath solution – comfrey, garlic, sea salt, sage, calandula, camomile
- Old underwear – I have no idea why. Everyone always says this, but I just used my normal underwear last time! Anyone who knows, do share!
For the baby:
- A receiving blanket – something soft and preferably natural. You don’t want to wipe vernix off the baby, so just have a blanket ready to cover baby, while keeping them skin to skin.
- A second blanket – especially if you’re having a waterbirth, the first can get wet and will probably have a bit of ‘goo’ on it.
- Soft sleeper outfit for baby – make sure there are no labels or seams that will be scratchy on the new and very sensitive skin.
If you are packing an ‘in case’ bag – which I choose not to do – you can put the essentials you need in it:
- Clean clothes
- Clean underwear
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Maternity pads
- Phone charger
- Baby clothes and receiving blanket
- Newborn nappies
- Snacks and drinks
- Camera, charger and spare memory card
If you are having older children at the birth:
- New Baby’s gift for older sibling, if using
- Activities to keep young children busy during labour
- If you’ve used any home birth books to prepare your child for the occasion, have them handy so they can be reminded of the pictures and what you’ve discussed.
Is there anything I’ve left out or forgotten? What did you use or need that’s not on this list?
More posts in this series:
- Birth story in pictures
- Books To Prepare Children For Childbirth, Homebirth Or Waterbirth
- Herbs for use in Childbirth
- Homebirth – A man’s perspective
- How To Write A Birth Plan And Why You Should
- How To Turn A Back-To-Back, Transverse or Breech Baby
- I Had A Perfect Birth – Now I’m Scared Of Trying Again
- I’m Not Trying For A Homebirth, I’m Having One
- Natural Childbirth: Changes In Sex Life
- Lack Of Experience Doesn’t Equate To Informed Decisions, OBGYN
- Natural Childbirth: Changes In Sex Life
- Natural Childbirth in Layman’s Terms
- Natural homebirth vs. Natural hospital birth
- Pain Relief Methods In Childbirth
- Preparing for a natural childbirth
- Positions For Labour And Childbirth
- Rebirthing: For Emotional Healing And Breastfeeding Reintroduction
- The Doula Path
- What Does The Birth Partner DO At A Birth?
- Writing a Birthplan: The Where, The Who And The Documentation
- You Need A Ceasarean Because…