The things you need if you're having a home birth

Childbirth is not a neat and clean or entirely predictable process, which is part of the reason why I opted to have my babies at a hospital rather than at home. However, many women who have had home births swear by them, including those who have had the experience of delivering a baby in a hospital to compare it to. This is the case with one of my dearest friends Brooke – she delivered her first baby at a hospital, and the second in the comfort of her own home in a birthing tub – and swears she would have a home birth if she were to do it again.
The best thing about having a trusted girlfriend dish about childbirth is that you can rest assured she's telling the truth.  

Here is a list of things you should have on hand if you plan to have a home birth (aside from making sure your midwife arrives on time!). 

  • Birth ball, stool or other props such as a birth pool to assist with labor. If you rent a birth tub, you will also need a garden hose to fill the tub with because the water needs to be as sanitary as possible (a used garden hose won't cut it!). You will also need an adaptor for the kitchen or bath tap so the garden hose can hook up to it. Make sure the rental comes with or that you buy a pump to take the water out after.
  • Fresh linens and towels. Use a tarpaulin or plastic sheet (a shower curtain may be a handy splash proof surface) and old sheets to cover the floor, bed and other furniture. You will also want replacement covers for replacing the dirty ones. Keep a supply of clean towels on hand especially if you are using a birth pool.
  • Clothes to wear during and after delivery. Shirt (and other layers of preference) to wear during labor and delivery that you won’t mind throwing out if they get dirty. Warm clothes and blankets for after delivery – you can expect to be about the size you were when you were around five months pregnant.
  • Items for your baby. It is helpful if you keep the things for your baby readily available including: 
    • diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream and change pad
    • sleeper and receiving blanket to swaddle
    • bassinet, cradle or crib
    • sterilized soother

A list of baby basics for 0-3 months can be found here.

  • Nursing paraphernalia. If you are using a breast pump, you will want to have the attachments and sterilized bottles/storage bags nearby. You may also want to have a nursing bra, breast pads, breast shields and nipple cream.
  • Hospital bag (and birth plan). Just in case you need to go to the hospital.
  • Supplies for cleanup. Stain remover in case it is required for spots on carpets, and garbage bags for waste.
  • Miscellaneous items, as applicable: 
    • Entertainment, distractions and comfort items – books, magazines, playing cards, phone, iPod, iPad, candles, massage oil, mints, gum, etc.
    • Light food and drink for yourself including Dr. Beverly's natural labor aid drink. Also have food and drink for birthing partner, midwife and other children. 
    • Medications and other things for labor and delivery, and for after delivery – for example, if you plan to use natural painkillers, homeopathic medicine, or natural botanicals that promote tissue healing of the perineum to spray on frozen maxi pads. (For more on preparation for childbirth, read this post.) 
    • Container if you are keeping the placenta and contact information for pickup for placenta encapsulation service (if you are not keeping the placenta, ask your midwife if she plans to bring something for the disposal, etc.). For more about placenta encapsulation read this post.
    • Cord blood kit and contact information for pickup.
    • Perennial cushion, spray bottle and wipes (in case it hurts to sit or wipe down there with TP after delivery).
    • Padsicles (with natural botanicals to help you heal faster) and healing brew.

Consult with your midwife before you buy anything as she may bring pads to put under the bed, medical supplies and other items.

Check back for our next post about home births from Mothers who know! In the meantime, for more about pregnancy, labor and delivery and postpartum care, visit this page.

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