Gathering supplies for labor, birth and beyond.
As you gather your energy in preparation for the birth, so you gather supplies. This is the furn part. Somehow getting “things” together makes the upcoming event so much more real… and close. This is one activity (though it may be ongoing over weeks of planning and gathering) that may make your heart flutter in excitement. Good! Enjoy.
Let’s look at options, ideas and suggestions for the birthing kit which can contain supportive, comforting and essential items for a home or clinical birth. Remember, for childbirth all you really need is your body and your baby. The rest is optional, and in some cases far more than you may need (especially if you’ll be with a midwife or doctor with his/her own supplies). So do you really need this stuff? Of course not. But… you might just want some of it.
Keeping everything together in a bag or suitcase is kind of stereotypical, but there may be something there. You’ve got everything you need ready and in one place, for home or hospital or wherever you chose to birth. Just grab it and get set up. As a midwife and doula, I have a handy duffle bag with lots of pockets and keep my supplies in clearly labeled zip lock bags.
- Straws (much to my surprise, these can come in handy for encouraging mother to drink even in odd positions)
- Favorite water bottle.
- Massage oil/sterile perineum oil
- Essential oils/aroma therapy/candles
- Music if you like
- Herbal/homeopathic remedies: Arnica for bruising, Motherwort for birthing pain, peppermint oil for nausea, etc.
- Favorite light and healthy snacks and beverages.
- Peppermints in case of nausea; candied ginger in case of exhaustion
Red raspberry leaf and nettle tea (consider ice cubes or Labor Aid drink made with these)
- Electrolyte drinks, honey,Emergen-C or Labor Aid Drink.
- Comfortable clothes, shirts, sports bra, bathing suit, gown, dress – seriously, what do you want to birth in? Keep in mind: nursing and photos and water birth…
- Slippers or comfy socks (plan on being upright and mobile, not down and out)
- Favorite pillow
- Hairbrush, headband, hair ties
- Ice packs/heat packs
- Hand soap, scrub brush, wash cloths and towels
- Face clothes or natural wipes
- Your favorites toiletries
- Natural lip balm, face and body creams
- Towels for bathing
- Take a look again at the Comfort in Labor list last month and any ideas and suggestions you have to add to that. There may be supplies from that list that you want to make sure you have.
- Under pads
- Maxi Pads
- Plastic backed sheets, shower curtain or plastic for bed protection
- Sterile gloves
- Peri Bottle/squeeze bottle
- Peroxide, Witch hazel, betadine
- Hand soap, scrub brush, wash cloths and towels
- Alcohol swabs
- large plastic bags for trash, soiled towels, etc.
- bowl for placenta
- Fetal stethoscope/fetoscope/pinnard horn/hand held doppler
- Blood pressure cuff
- Clock/stop watch
- Scale/tape measure
- Rebozo or other long scarf- it’s basically a long scarf that you place under a lying down laboring woman’s hips and then use to pull her hips UP and from side to side. This can gently jiggle a baby out of a funky position to help labor progress – and may reduce pressure on mama’s hips
- If stalled labor, castor oil in fruit juice; trillium, bethroot or blue cohosh tincture (never use these during pregnancy)
- Birth certificate, foot printer
- Dental floss or cord clamps
- Sterile scissors or razor blade (for umbilical cord)
- Bulb syringe
- Receiving blankets or towels – several changes, nice and warm
- New born hat (only if cold room)
- Newborn diapers (ideally only for covering loosely and cleaning)
- (Do not wash first day)
- Rescue remedy (on forehead) if trauma and/or resuscitation
- We are told we need so much for baby – special clothes, hats, diapers, lotions etc – yet we (and the newborn) need little more than skin-to-skin contact for warmth, breasts for nourishment and family for bonding and emotional comfort.
- For well after the birth, you may want to have on hand some organic cotton swaddling blankets and onsies, some good washing cloths/natural baby wipes and all-in-one cotton diapers.
Following birth, for mother
- Natural washes and cloths to gently clean
- Comfortable gown/dress, nursing or sports bra, slippers
- Soft healthy high fiber foods and herbal teas (nettle, dandelion, alfalfa leaf with honey)
- Checking for tears: sterile gauze pads for drying first, super glue, mirror and light
- Homeopathic arnica for physical trauma
- Comfry, aloe vera and witch hazel for hemorrhoids
- Shepherds purse, Ladys mantle for bleeding
- Angelicas or ground ivy for expulsion of retained placenta
- Rescue Remedy for bleeding, shock (the pastilles are wonderful for mother after birthing if need be)
- You may wish for them to have a copy of the birth plan on hand even if you’ve discussed it all ahead of time.
- Lots of coffee – or calming teas
- Important phone numbers, contacts, directions in case of emergency
- Whatever uplifts their mood too – the more in tune they are with the incredible beauty of the event, the more you too will enjoy
- Whatever “tools” you wish to bring them into and involved with the process – think music, ceremonial, rite of passage, massage, touch…
- Epsom Salts for bath
- Favorite toiletries for shower
- Sitz bath with herbs (comfry, yarrow, goldenseal) if healing tears
- Comfy panties and pads
- Witch hazel pads if hemorrhoids
- Comfy gowns and nursing tops and slippers
- Magnesium oil spray and massage oils for after bath/shower
- Your Sacred Journal to personally record the birth in your own words.
- Postpartum Doula? Additional support?
- (Remember, for a while after birthing, you may be wiped out, and in love… your hands will be full, your sleep deprived, your body exhausted… and you’ll need help when you want it – and privacy when you want it, too.You’ll need lots of good food/meals – and someone on call to cook, serve, and help in any way. A reality we forget – looking beyond the birth.)