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Tips and Advice for Planning a Homebirth

July 30, 2011

Having everything in a basket so it’s easy for the midwife to find is a very good idea.

First I have got to say that I’m delighted to be writing this post.

For the longest time, homebirth really wasn’t an option on my area so I didn’t do a lot of talking about it.  But lately with the advent of more midwifes this is becoming a really viable option.

So this post is for those of you who are planning a homebirth and are looking for any tips to make things easier.

First off you really don’t need much of anything that isn’t already in your house.  However there are some ideas and items that are handy and can be helpful.  Often preparing in this way will appeal to your nesting instincts and having everything in a common area (like a laundry basket or box) will certainly make things easier for the midwife when she arrives.

  • A cheap shower curtain or two in your birthing area will be invaluable.  You can also use a tarp for this purpose.
  • Something soft to go over that waterproof layer mentioned above.  This can be an old sheet or towels.
  • If you have older children, plan to have some distraction set up for them – labour is actually quite boring for kids.  🙂
  • Anything to create the atmosphere that you want.  Pictures, lighting, candles, aromatherapy, music,etc.
  • Bendy straws and/or spillproof drinking cup/bottle – it seems silly – but a bendy straw is much appreciated when drinking fluids in labour.
  • Hot water bottle
  • Hand mirror to watch baby crowning (optional – some moms like to see, others like to touch baby’s head instead).
  • Food and drink – for mom and also for the support people – especially if it’s a longer labour.
  • Clothes to labour in  (T-shirt, nightdress, housecoat)  see my related post “what to wear in labour“.
  • Although aware of the environmental issues and cost, I just love disposable bed mats meant for incontinence in the young or elderly.  You can find these at any pharmacy – sometimes called a chux pad.
  • A tennis ball to rub into the sore back muscles and the low back (sacrum) acupressure point is nice.
  • A bucket – this is super handy! Vomiting is very common in labour and so too is passing faeces. Both can be quickly disposed of in the bucket.
  • Hospital bag – just in case.  Most of the time you will be staying at home for the whole thing.  Occasionally birth might require you to transfer to the hospital – believe me, I know from personal experience that trying to pack a hospital bag at 8 cm dilated is no fun.

Tips for using a tub – birthing tubs are wonderful… but they do require a bit more organization.  Please check with your midwife as she may provide some of these supplies along with the tub.

  • Get a small fish net – you know the ones to help clean out the fish tank. It will come in handy to get rid of bits out of the pool!
  • Have a large supply of towels nearby if you are planning to labour or birth in the tub (especially if you end up getting in and out, it’s nice to have a dry towel – and one that comes straight from the dryer, nice and warm, is even better).
  • Also some sort of thermometer to keep an eye on pool temp.
  • Make sure you have a trial run with the pool beforehand to make sure you know how to put it up and how long it takes to fill.
  • Turn up the temperature of your hot water heater a couple weeks before your due date, to ensure that you will have enough hot water for filling the birthing tub.
  • Hose long enough to run from faucet to birthing area ( a garden hose will work just fine)
  • Adapter to attach the hose to a faucet – these can be found home building stores.
  • Tarp to go under and around the birthing tub.

Remember to have the stuff for baby and for after the birth in the basket/box as well.

  • Baby clothes (sleepers and toques) and receiving blankets
  • Washcloth
  • Newborn diapers
  • Maternity sanitary pads (the biggest and thickest pads you can find, the bleeding after birth can be quite heavy) and underwear – preferable some old ones you don’t mind getting a bit of blood on.
  • Small cold packs ( to be used to sit on after if vagina is sollen or sore)
  • Few large garbage bags to put dirty clothes/towels in, and one for actual garbage.
  • Container for placenta – I always suggest a clean ice cream pail.  This is especially good if you are keeping your placenta and here’s a post about why you should consider keeping it.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide, to remove any bloodstains for carpets. Not that you are likely to get much mess anyway.
  • Biological washing powder – with stain-digesting enzymes, even if you normally use the ultra-gentle, ultra-green non-bio versions. To remove any stains from clothing, towels etc.

Homebirth can be beautiful.  Enjoy!

Marie, mama to a wonderful daughter (unplanned hospital birth), and two great sons (planned homebirths).

ps. If you have had a home birth and would like add any other tips please let me know and I will include them.

If you liked this post, you might also like these two.

Need some more inspiration.  Read about the birth of Hazel in water at home.

My “guess date” was August 23rd and I was optimistically hoping to deliver the baby a week early (although Hazel had other plans!). My midwife told me that usually, first babies are born 8 days after the due date, which is exactly when Hazel came into the world.  Keep Reading

Dream Birth : Great visualization for your upcoming birth

I love the title of this slideshow.  Dream is a great and powerful word.  It speaks to the stories that we tell ourselves, while we are asleep and while we are awake (daydreaming).  As my meditation teacher once explained to me – we are constant story tellers.  Every moment we are telling ourselves a story about what is happening, what has happened and what could happen to us and around us.  Keep Reading

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2011 12:01 am

    ..For some of you that sounds really awesome and you want to do that too or have done it and youre totally on board and think its the greatest thing in the world………And then there may be some of you who might think Im some feminist anti-hospital hippy trying to be super woman and running a high and unnecessary risk………Well I dont really feel like writing a big essay about why I want to have a home-birth but I can tell you that Im not trying to make any kind of I am woman hear me roar statement and I dont think Im very hippy maybe a little granola at times but not hippy ………Im also not convinced that Im putting myself or our baby at risk. Warm water improves the skins elasticity something that is very helpful when youre pushing The list goes on but these are some of the reasons that really appeal to me…..Again this is our plan but well see how things actually turn out!

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