Preparing for Home Birth


Since my husband and I decided that we were going to have a home birth, I have been scouring the internet and fancy Pinterest articles on things I need to have at home for the big day. Using a list given to me by my midwife of supplies she requires, plus taking suggestions from several other random articles, I have compiled my list of necessary (and optional) items, and have organized all of my supplies in preparation.

Supplies my Midwife Requires

I bought a suggested Birth Kit from In His Hands Birth Supply (a fantastic website, by the way!), which included the following items:

  • 20 “Chux” Underpads
  • 5 Depends Briefs, Extra Absorbency
  • 10 Gauze sponges (4×4)
  • 1 Scrub Brush, Hibiclens
  • 1 PeriBottle, 8 oz
  • 6 Single Gloves, Non-Sterile
  • 10 Pair Gloves, Non-Sterile
  • 1 Peri Instant Cold Pack
  • 5 Sterile Lube Jelly
  • 10 Alcohol Prep Pads
  • 2 NeatNick heel lancets
  • 3 Ziploc Freezer Bags,
  • 1 gallon 2 Flexible Drinking Straws
  • 2 45 Gallon Trash Bags, black
  • 1 OB Instrument Kit
  • Afterease by Wishgarden, 1 oz
  • 1 Pack of Natracare feminine pads, 10 count
  • 2 Single Gloves, Sterile
  • 4 Pair Gloves, Sterile
  • 1 Thermometer
  • 1 Cord Ring

She also gave me a list of the following items to have on hand at home:

  • 8-10 towels and wash cloths, washed and ready for use. These would be either cheap or old ones that you don’t mind just throwing away if they can’t be washed out. If you’re planning on a birth photographer, I’ve been told that darker colors look better in pictures and don’t show any stains that may occur during the birthing process. I opted for some cheapo new ones (On sale for $2.50 each at Target!) in Charcoal Grey. My nice towels are charcoal as well, so if these don’t get ruined I can just add them to my stash, but I also won’t be too upset if they end up getting tossed in the trash.
  • 2-4 cheap, (destructible) pillows- For positioning and comfort during labor. I opted to buy new pillows, too. The cheapest ones I could find, of course. I also bought some cheap vinyl waterproof pillow covers. (I found a pair for about $3 at Wal-Mart.)
  • 1 Roll Viva brand paper towels, plain, unprinted, “choose-a-size.” This was easy because this is the exact kind of paper towels I already use. Ha ?
  • 1 Large Cookie Sheet with sides (for warming blankets, towels, etc. in the oven)
  • 1 Medium/Large bowl (metal or plastic, no glass)
  • 1 Crock Pot For keeping towels and wash cloths warm during labor Travel-sized package of sanitizing wipes (Clorox, Purelle, Lysol, etc) for disinfecting surfaces last minute
  • 1 Clear shower curtain, plastic painters drop cloth, or waterproof mattress liner
  • 2 Fitted Sheets and 2 Flat Sheets (washed and ready to prepare the bed)
  • 1 Laundry basket for soiled linens

I’ll talk more about this in one of my next articles, but when you’re getting ready to USE your labor and birth supplies it might be a good time to make your bed and get it ready in case you labor or birth in the bed. I didn’t enjoy being in the bed in the hospital with Little Man, but I ended up delivering him there anyways so I’ll be making my bed at home and getting it ready just in case for this baby. To make the bed, you’ll start with one freshly washed set of sheets, fitted and then flat, of course, and then cover with the shower curtain/drop cloth/waterproof mattress cover (whichever you decided on), and then finish with the next set of clean sheets. The top ones will obviously be the ones that get the most soiled, so make those your old holey ones if you have a set. Have your pillows readily available for use, too! After you’ve delivered your baby you can easily strip the first set of sheets and waterproof liner off the bed and have a fresh, clean set of sheets already made up and ready to go on the bed so you can just relax!

Optional Items that are Highly Recommended:

  • Gentle Birth Tincture- Can be bought with or without Blue Cohosh
  • Herbal Afterbith Bath- To soothe the perineum and promote healing
  • Pool Liner (only needed if you’re planning on using the birth pool, which I am) My midwife is supplying me with a birth pool to use, which is why I only need the liner, but if your midwife doesn’t have one for you to “rent” and you would like to enjoy laboring or birthing in the water, a birth pool is a great investment. Also look into water hoses, a hose attachment device to use with your sink or shower for easy filling, and a submersible pump to remove the water once you’re done.
  • Small, easy to enjoy snacks for a pick-me-up during labor (Grapes, almonds, bananas, melons, honey sticks, crackers with nut butter, hummus, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, yogurt, cheese sticks, granola bars, etc. are all good ideas)
  • Labor-Aid (Get the DIY super amazing recipe HERE!), Coconut water, Smart Water, “Recharge,” or other low-sodium and low-sugar electrolyte drink for hydration during labor.

Random Items I have Compiled Myself

  • Disposable Vinyl tablecloth- To place under the birth pool. If you get the kind that has vinyl on one side and flannel on the other, you can put it vinyl side down under the pool and it serves two purposes: 1. Protects the floor, and 2. Helps create a slip-free surface to walk on around the pool. We have hardwood floors and I’m super clumsy so this is a must ?
  • Birthing Ball– A MUST-HAVE for laboring! I used my birth ball for over half of my labor with Little Man (the other half in the tub), and it was instrumental in getting through those contractions and keeping me moving. Just make sure you get one that is anti-burst and is the correct size for you. You need to be able to have your legs at a 90 degree angle with your feet flat on the floor when you sit on it. I’m 5’7″ (ish) with long legs and I use a 75mm birthing ball if that helps at all.
  • Peanut Ball– The peanut ball is very similar to a birthing/exercise ball, but it only moves back and forth instead of in all directions. While there isn’t a ton of research on these yet, there has been one small study that says peanut balls help shorten labor by assisting women to open the pelvis when used properly. Check out more helpful information about peanut balls and how to use them at Premier Birth Tools. Again you’ll want to find one that is anti-burst and is the correct size for you. Most women will use the the 50cm ball, but if you’re shorter than 5’2″ or taller than 5’8″ you might want to try the next smaller or larger size respectively.
  • Vibrating massager
  • Heat/cold pack- This is my favorite one, which I have used throughout both of my pregnancies and is a LIFE-SAVER!
  • Small bottle of olive oil for perineal massage
  • 3-6 receiving/swaddle blankets, washed and ready to go. At least a few of them should be ones you don’t mind tossing. I like this kind because they’re warm, big enough for swaddling and oh so soft right out of the package.
  • 1-2 Cotton knit infant hats to keep baby’s little head warm after birth

And there you have it! My complete birth kit! I organized everything into two separate plastic bins, one containing all of the linens, towels, and pillows, and the other containing pretty much everything else. I left the heat pack, birthing balls, etc and all of that fun stuff out because I’ve been using it to prepare for labor. (More on that later!) Note that most of these items are specifically for labor and birth. I have a whole other list of postpartum supplies and goodies plus some more labor prep items for earlier in pregnancy! Stay tuned for those posts at a later date! ?

What About You?

What supplies did you have on hand for your home birth? What extras would you recommend?

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