Thinking about giving birth in the comfort of your own home? You’re one of a rising number of women who are bringing back birth to the ‘way nature intended’ and into their own hands.
Maybe this is the only way you could every imagine giving birth. Maybe it’s become a family tradition. Or maybe you’ve clicked on this article thinking ‘LABOUR, AT HOME?!’
I got your back.
It wasn’t until the 5th month of pregnancy that I took my partner’s crazy suggestion seriously. Up until I was a hesitant and skeptical. It wasn’t until I began researching Birth Centres in my area to find the nearest a 4 hour drive away from home that I decided it just wasn’t practical.
I wasn’t going to give birth in a hospital either, I’d already visited a couple for my prenatal visits and got this cold chill every time I had to go in one of those super sterile rooms.
Granted, perhaps not all hospitals are like that, but if you’ve come to this page chances are you’re looking to create a little more cosy atmosphere for one of the most important days of your lives.
Let’s just say, there are a lot of postives on your side if you chooose to do so and just remember exactly that – it’s your choice!
Imagine being accompanied that long first night, imagine having your baby with you, your partner supporting you….and all in the delight of your own bed, with your own food.
Ready to see the list this ultimate list of home birth must-haves? Let’s dive right into it!
1. Heater/Fire to keep mummy warm
This comes on the top of my list because for me (and anyone, for that matter) it’s the most essential. Given that you’re not birthing in a hospital where the heating will be automatic, this is a big detail you need to think about.
We live in a big stone house so our best heat source is the fire – when it’s lit! So if this is your case too, think about getting someone to do that for you cause you’ll be pretty busy mama!
If you live in a smaller house or a house that is more insulated in general, you could use a normal electric or gas heater. This could be the case if you decide to give birth in only one room of the house, which is logical if you want to keep the house as clean as posisble but allow me to let you onto something:
GIVING BIRTH AT HOME DOESN’T HAVE TO BE MESSY.
There, I said it. The honest truth. And even if there is a little mess, you won’t be worrying about that in the moment, trust me. Again, hire someone else to do that task after.
Just keep in mind that while you might plan to give birth in a certain room, chances are you’ll want to change atmosphere and walk about in the living room, dance in the kitchen or do whatever else you need to avoid a mental block.
2. Mats, Blankets And Cushions
Since you have the freedom to birth in the way you want, make the most of it. In my birth story I mentioned putting my yoga mat down on the floor in the upstairs living room with a mattress, small quilt and a blanket. Lots of blankets, and of course, cushions.
This is perfect for the time where you’re starting to feel a little worn out and need a lie down, or to spend those early hours in the morning finding the positions that work for you. Remember, nobody wants to kneel down on a wooden floor.
Maybe you could make an early use of that ABC jigsaw soft floor you bought for your baby’s arrival? Just cover it up with some old sheets if you’re worried about staining it. But again I will say, you don’t even make any ‘mess’ until the very end.
Even if your waters break (which obviously at some point or another, they will) – it’s just water!
The cushions were what helped me the most when I just needed to get comfy enough to doze off between contractions. Labour is an endurance!
3. Sweat pants, comfy clothes
Here’s the truth babe: you is gon’ sweat!
Hell you’re gonna sweat as if you’re running a 10k at least. And you are, giving birth is hard, sweaty work. So you don’t wanna be doing it in your finest preggo jeans. You may gently lay them aside now. The time has come for the baggy pants.
Though I would recommend also:
- a pair of non-tight shorts too cause it’s about to get hot!
- your good old timeless sports bra!
- bikini bottoms when birthing in the pool – but you probably won’t want ANYTHING down there!
- headband to keep your hair out your face. No one wants a sweaty fringe getting in the way!
- lightweight cardigan in case you get a bit cold at any moment
There you go, in the clothing department I’m not gonna write much more, you’ll be tearing it off in a fury anyway, most likely.
4. Plastic cover for floor/bed
Personally, having been through a home labour myself with the plastic sheet cover remaining untouched throughout, I can safely say I won’t be buying one again.
Granted, it did have it’s uses when it came to the first few days of breastfeeding (where otherwise I would have woken up in puddles of milk) but nonetheless, you can get much more comfortable stuff for that.
The thing is as well, we have an old stone tiled floor, which is relatively easy to clean afterwards. Oh – and I gave birth in the pool. So any ‘mess’ remained in the water.
In case you are worried about staining your newly-fitted carpet though, this could be your option.
5. A small food supply
I think it’s generally rare to want to eat large amounts of food during labour, but you should probably try and eat a decent meal during the early stages if you can, even if that means at 3am in the morning like me!
A quick, easy fix is to have some ready-made wholemeal pasta in the fridge or on hand so that your birthing partner can warm it up quickly. You might not feel like eating else but at least you’ve got the carbs you’re gonna need for the following hours.
Choose something soft and easy to eat
A timeless favourite like mac’n’cheese could be just what you’re in the mood for, or a simple pasta with pisto sauce. Why do I say pasta? Well you can choose what you like and maybe you’d rather enjoy some rice, but from experience you want something that’s not too chewy or dry just to eat quickly before focusing on your body again.
Another option you have is to have some ready-to-grab snacks like cereal bars (you can even make your own, but not on the day!), bananas, apples, almonds, dark chocolate….
I would add also to have a big glass of water nearby with a STRAW. You will never know you needed a straw until you can’t physically take the glass in your hands and your birthing team will help you out. If you’re worried about the environment you can choose eco reusable ones.
Here you have some simple ideas to get your energy levels up:
- Cereal bars/biscuits
- Easy to eat fruit like bananas/apples/pears
- Smoothies and/or juices
- Dried fruit like raisins/dates/almonds
- It’s not a snack but seriously don’t forget STRAWS!
5. Whatever you need to get in the zone
Seeing as you’re giving birth at home, you can decorate it however you like. I got inspired during my pregnancy watching home water births (hey, each to their own!)
I began to notice an emerging pattern in all the videos: the living rooms or the houses were decorated with photos, pictures, colours….and the mum would focus on these as she went through labour.
I’d also vaguely heard of birth cards, so I started to investigate on the internet examples and one night sat down to paint my own.
Words, when used on their own as a focus point, can be very powerful. Have a think if this could help you – I used key words like ‘open’ and ‘breathe’. You might find others more suitable to you. For me it was all about letting go and allowing my body to do it’s work.
Something else that helped me a lot as I mentioned in my birth story was lavender essential oil. My partner would have it nearby so I could smell it when I really needed.
6. Medical Supplies
You shouldn’t need too much here because your midwife or medical birthing assistant will bring her/his little briefcase.
However, it is always good to be a little prepared with some basics. These may include the following:
- Physiological serum in unidose
- Thermometer to check mummy’s temperature
- Calendula mother tincture to disenfect the perineum
- Sterile compresses tp use with the tincture
- White clay powder
Again, check with your midwife and only buy what you’ll need? This list is just an example.
7. Post Partum Supplies
I’m only going to cover it briefly here, but something you should know and you aren’t often informed of – I don’t know if it’s not to scare you, but it’s nothing terrible and better to know what the post partum period is like.
You will bleed quite a lot in the first following days BUT it’s really nothing to worry about and is a good sign that your body is recovering.
Where does this blood come from?
The bleeding is actually the wound inside the womb where the placenta was attached – it’s just that healing over. Every woman is different, in general you will bleed somewhere around 4-6 weeks.
DON’T PANIC! Only the first few days is a large quantity, the rest is like having a normal period, with the flow getting lighter until the last few weeks you’ll just be spotting really.
You see – not that bad! Just listen to your body carefully: the bleeding is also a good way to keep on track of your healing. For example, if your bleeding started decreasing, then one day you bleed more than normal, it might be a sign you need to put your feet up and take it easy.
For that reason, I highly recommend storing some pre-cooked meals in the freezer and have visitors come round with plates of food. Most women are ravenous the first few days after birth – especially when the breastmilk comes in.
ANYWAY, I’m getting off track.
Keep in mind you’ll need some extra absorbent pads you can get in the pharmacy OR you can look at this post to get an idea.
You’ll probably be using the special knickers with two highly absorbent pads for the first few days, then you’ll move on to ‘night’ pads and reduce as you go along. I even invested in some reusable pads, seeing as I knew I was going to bleed for quite a while.
8. First Few Baby Items
I hear you, you’ve already got it covered. If you haven’t though, or you’re reading this early in your pregnancy to get ahead, this is for you.
Again here you won’t need too much as the main necessity of your baby is skin to skin contact with mummy (awwwww!) and feeding.
It’s always useful though to keep in mind:
- Baby’s first nappies – this is actually quite a tricky one as you could have a baby born to perfectly fit into those first nappies, or you could (like me) struggle with leaks and pooey disasters until you find an even smaller size suitable for those first two weeks (3-5kg)
- Baby wet wipes OR I use an ointment with cotten pads you can find here
- Baby’s first body & pyjama – again, not absolutely necessary during the first few hours but if you want to dress him/her eventually that’s fine. Be sure to have a couple of different sizes in case you get a small babs like me!
- The most essential is a little hat. When babies are born, during the first few days their bodies don’t know how to regulate their own temperature so the hat keeps the heat from escaping from their head
Now you’ve read my ultimate list of home birth supplies, I’d love to know what you think! Have any of you had a home birth? Is there anything I’ve missed?