Congratulations on your pregnancy! If you are planning a homebirth or just think about maybe having one, what do you need?
There are some essentials...
Still pack a birth bag - aka hospital bag?
Yes. Simply because once you are in labour, the bag will contain the things you'll need as well as the extras you wanted to have :) Your partner does not have to rush around, trying to find things, neither will the midwife have to. You can then focus on the birth rather than supervising your birth supporter(s). Also, having a bag ready, will make things easier if you did need to go to hospital pre birth, during labour or after.
What's in a birth bag?
- large comfortable knickers (supermarket own brand, old ones or disposable)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Clean clothes
- Plastic bag to put your dirty clothes in, if you transfer to hospital, larger plastic bag if planning to use water during labour and birth
- Maternity sanitary pads
- Loose comfortable clothes to wear during birth (long T-shirt, etc.)
- Phone numbers of people to call after the birth - so that your birth partner can do that for you
- Cash, card
- Baby clothes, blanket
- Newborn nappies
- plastic bottles or cartons of drinks
- protein bars
- camera (if you wish)
- Flannel or sponge or spary for cold water - to cool mum down
- baby shampoo - for mum after birth (no more tears mean not too much stinging)
- Hair brush
- Glasses (contacts during labour are not very comfortable)
- Tens machine, birth ball, homoeopathic remedies, if you are planning on using any of these
Things you might like for your homebirth (adapted from www.homebirth.org.uk):
- Reference books to consult in labour, eg New Active Birth by Janet Balaskas, Home Birth by Sheila Kitzinger.
- Stereo with batteries/available power supply
- CDs or tapes
- Playlist with directions for birth partner
- TV / DVD's
- Books, magazines, games (early labour)
- Hypnosis CD's if using
- Candles for decoration, scent or 'atmosphere'.
- Birth ball - an exercise ball will do, but make sure it can take your pregnant weight! Can be a useful distraction to sit on and roll your hips in labour, or lean over. For more ideas on the use of these before and during labour, do a web search for 'using a birth ball' - articles move around but there's plenty out there, including on YouTube.
- Birth Pool:
- The pool itself
- Hose long enough to reach taps
- Adaptors to fit your taps
- plastic sheeting e.g. shower curtain to go under and around pool
- Buckets, saucepans
- Strainer (most midwives will ask you to supply one)
- Mirror (most midwives will ask you to supply one)
- Thermometer (most midwives will ask you to supply one)
- Light food and drink for labour
- Food and drink for birth partner, midwives, other children
- Bendy straws and/or spillproof drinking cup/bottle
- Hot compresses, hot water bottles,
- Tarpaulin, plastic sheeting, old sheets etc.. Shower curtains make good splashproof surfaces for giving birth.
- Dustbin bags for waste disposal
- Hand mirror for watching crowning, if you fancy it. (your midwife might ask you to supply a mirror for waterbirth).
- Gift for older children from new baby
If using water for labour and birth
- Cover sockets with plastic bags and tapes that are near the pool
- Ideally, the pool needs to be accessible from 3 sides
- cover, floors with plastic sheeting (e.g. shower curtains) and put towels on top to avoid slipping
- Use old towels
- Practice filling the pool with air and water - how long does it take to inflate and fill (especially if you do not have a combi-boiler it may take a lot longer than you think.)
- make sure your hose is clean before filling the pool
- the pool liners need to be taken out of the package at least 24 hours prior to using
- Have saucepans, buckets etc ready to empty cold water out of the pool and top up with hot water - to maintain water temperature
- Pool is very heavy. Please only use on solid floors
- If you have older children, you may wish to have them there or not - make arrangements
- you might wish to inform your neighbours in hearing distance
- If your house / flat is not too easy to find, have directions ready to be emailed to midwife
- Door off the latch once you know midwife is coming - in case you or your partner won't make it to the door
- Have old towels ready for mopping up things
- disposable incontinence sheets or shower curtains (plastic sheeting) to cover floors and furniture you might be using
- have food and drinks accessible for you
- route to the toilet may need covering with sheeting - just in case
A very good referencing site with lots of birth stories and links to evidence about home birth etc is http://www.homebirth.org.uk/. Well worth a visit!