February 3, 2011

Homebirth: Supplies

Have you ever wondered what would be needed for a home birth?

Here is the official supply list, given to us by our midwife at our 28 week appointment. It is requested that all supplies be gathered in one place by 36 weeks.

(click the image for a larger version)

Supplies for labor and birth
Basically, Momma needs to be hydrated and nourished during labor--we have stocked coconut water for hydration and runners "GU" for quick energy. Our cupboards were absolutely bare when I went into labor with Roscoe, and my parents saved the day by dropping off a full load of groceries shortly after labor began. I didn't have a desire to eat any food, but I did suck down two gels during the pushing phase, and had maybe a few sips of grape juice at some point or another. For women with longer labors I imagine that a few easy to eat snacks would be lifesavers.

Since we've done this before we have quite a lot of leftover items, so our job of gathering everything on the list was made pretty easy. We will use two of our laundry baskets and line them with trash bags for whatever trash and linens accumulate during the process. I had a really easy recovery after Roscoe's birth, but I do remember a need in the first 36 hours for frozen peas and Ziploc baggies wrapped in paper towels (homemade perineal ice packs!!). Friends of mine swear by the commercial ice pads provided in-hospital, and when I found them on the birth supply website I decided they would be worth the investment at $2.50 a piece. I'm not sure that anyone will be at my beck and call to reload the pea packs every couple hours so I think the convenience will be great.

We're using the same set of receiving blankets that were used at Roscoe's birth, and Susan will bring an electric heating pad to warm them. Baby hats, newborn diapers, and a digital thermometer are all baby basics and easy to come by. Vaseline makes the first meconium poops so easy to clean up--we put a few dabs on Roscoe for the first three diaper changes and saved ourselves the effort of wrestling with the tarry stuff.

A good selection, and large quantity of pads in different absorbencies were essential and it was nice to have bought them ahead of time so that Andy didn't have to later run to the store and guess at what I might need/prefer.

Birth supplies
The supplies designated for the actual birth are a little harder to come by, but my midwife has a relationship with a homebirth supplier and last time we ordered a customized kit for a little over 40 dollars with shipping--it included everything that our midwife requested. Because we had at least a small quantity leftover of most of the necessary items, this time I only had to order a few more packs of chux pads, 7 or 8 gauze pads, and several sets of sterile gloves.

Before we experienced it, one of our biggest superficial concerns was the "mess" involved with birth and how our white carpets would fare. Fear not! Those blue chux pads are perfect for the job, and in the final weeks of pregnancy I highly recommend stashing a few in your bag, desk drawer, and glove box in case your water breaks and you need something to sit on. My water broke as my first sign of labor. I happened to be asleep on the couch, but what if I had been mid-commute!? Those pads would have come in handy!

Ammonia and hydrogen peroxide serve as all purpose cleaners. I can't speak to their effectiveness because we didn't need to use them (hope the expiration date hasn't passed because they're in the box again). When the birth team left our house late Tuesday night, everything was in order and a load of laundry was humming in the wash. You would have never guessed that baby Roscoe was birthed on the floor in the corner of our bedroom.

Preparing the labor and birth space
I plan to labor throughout the house as I feel comfortable, and give birth in our bedroom or bathroom (who knows where, really!). In early March we'll make our bed with clean sheets, put a plastic painter's drop cloth on top, and then stretch a fitted sheet over the whole thing and make the bed as usual. I know one thing, we'll be sure not to wait until week 38 and 2 days (like last time!). I remember stripping our bed and tossing the sheets in the machine while I waited for my contractions to ramp up, but neither of us can recall how the bed actually got made! Either way, I spent only the intense transitional phase of labor under the sheets, nestled between pillows, so we didn't really make use of the whole preparation.

I love admiring our little stockpile of birth-day supplies. We're one step closer in preparing to meet Little Sears and I can't believe that we get to do this again! And soon!

If you're planning a homebirth do you have a similar list?


  1. My list is a little different - the kit is $71! Plus we had to get some more stuff at Wal-Mart like a hot water bottle and the gauze pads. My bed is already made up at 31 weeks - we are not using it until the birth.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I don't have a lot of experience with home births but I think the idea of being home and having a natural birth is so amazing! You are such an inspiration.

  3. Josefine: Is there twice as much stuff on your list? Or maybe a different (more expensive) supplier? I'm curious what's on there!!

  4. This brings back so many great memories of preparing for Evalyn's birth. Our birth kit only cost $20 and was provided by my midwives. Then, there were a few other things (towels, paper towel, laundry baskets etc) that I had to gather as well. Oh ya, an we changed the sheets and put the garbage bags and drop cloths on our bed at 3 am when I was in labor :)

  5. I'm truly jealous of your home birth. We are birthing at a hospital, but I want to labor at home sa long as possible, and this is where all of my stress is coming from. When to go in. It would be so wonderful to not have to go in.

  6. CVS sells these ice packs that have gel beads in them that mimic peas. They are plastic and have a size that is roughly the same size as a pad. I believe it is listed for hand/foot pain. But I found them to be an awesome alternative to ice packs. I iced myself for a few weeks. And they are plastic so if you get them bloody just rinse them off. I bought 4 and rotated them. I love the ice packs from the hospital but they warm up fast. So once I got home those were my go to's. I highly recommend them. And good luck, I am not brave enough to ever consider birthing at home.

  7. I think its great your doing a home birth. I assisted in two home births before and they were so surprisingly done with ease and peace! I wish you the best!

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