For the laboring mother, the work of birth is internal. You’re focusing on breathing and your baby as you move toward that moment when her velvet skin will be on your chest. Meanwhile, the birth team is busy with their own tasks, which aren’t so self-contained. They'll use tools and supplies from beginning to end to help you move through birth as comfortably as possible.
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Though birth will happen no matter what, some important supplies can help your team support you in safe and comforting ways. Your midwife may provide a birth kit or direct you toward one, or you’ll need to gather your own supplies individually. Here’s a home birth supply list you can start with, then check with your care provider to make sure you’ve got what you need.
Home Birth Supply List
The things you might think of for a hospital bag - clothes, phone chargers - are already at home. So you might not need a hospital bag for the labor, but you still need to gather supplies. Your midwife may or may not require all of the supplies below. The list should be a really good place to start!
You can modify this based on the expectations you have for comfort measures and coping techniques. Keep in mind that it’s good to give yourself several options. Your home birth plan can be flexible. Even if you don’t expect to want candles lit, for example, you might find yourself wanting nothing more than that quiet ambience once things pick up. On the other hand, you might also have your heart set on one specific thing that you find you don’t want at all!
- Massage oils
- Clean towels by the shower
- Clean hand towels (to soak in hot water for pain relief)
- Yoga mat
- Birth Ball
- A rebozo wrap
- A small fan
- Easy snacks (granola bars, “energy bites,” trail mix, crackers, fruit, miso soup)
Water birth supplies
If you plan to labor or birth in the water, make sure you do a trial run and time how long it takes to inflate and fill the tub.
- Tub with pump and hose (usually inflatable, there are several brands to consider and even rental possibilities; talk with your midwife for options)
- Tub liner
- Small net
- Tarp for the floor
- Clean hose
Birth kit supplies
Either you or your midwife will need to provide these things. Check with her to see how much of it you’ll actually need to have. Most midwives have a list of supplies that they ask you to have ready at the 36 week visit. In His Hands Birth Supply is an excellent source for individual items and customizable kits.
- Sterile Gloves
- Tucks pads
- Waterproof mattress cover
- Bendy straws
- Povidone iodine
- Lubrication jelly, individual packets
- Hibiclens scrub brush
- Sterile gauze sponge packets
- Sterile alcohol wipes packets
No one will bring you a tray of food automatically when you have a home birth. You’ve got to plan for that (or for someone to bring it to you!). The upside is that you can decide exactly what you want. No gross hospital food here! A good meal after the hard work of birth just might be the best thing you’ve ever tasted.
- Plastic cord clamp
- Bulb syringe
- Infant hat
- Peri bottle
- Postpartum pads (don’t forget to make padsicles!)
- Nurtured Mother postpartum tincture
- Commemorative birth announcement certificate
- Something to stamp the baby’s footprints
- Mesh underwear
- Postpartum Herb Baths
- Let There Be Milk tincture
- Cord Care Powder
- An easy, nourishing meal (something to put in the crock pot when labor begins works well!)
Transfers to the hospital are never the ideal scenario, and they can happen for a variety of reasons. Talk with your midwife about the reasons she might transfer, what that looks like, and what you’ll need to bring or expect. Having a small bag ready to go just in case can take some of the anxiety out of that moment.
- Phone chargers
- A printed description of your prenatal care and planned birth (your midwife should have a system in place for transfers; check with her to see what you will need in terms of documentation, etc.)
- Change of clothes for you both
- A couple of outfits for baby
- A small bag of toiletries
- Car seat
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