If a patient plans on giving birth at home, it’s essential to have all the right supplies on hand for a safe and healthy delivery. Midwives and expectant mothers should work together to come up with a supply list and ensure that everything is in place long before the due date comes around.
There’s a lot to gather before a home birth, from medical equipment to items you can find around the house. Once mothers have these things together, though, they can go into the final stages of their pregnancy ready to face whatever happens. Help your patients get ready for a successful delivery with this home birth supplies checklist of what you need to prepare.
Supplies for Mom
When helping mothers through a home birth, you need to prioritize their comfort and safety. Supplies for mothers include medicines, hygienic supplies, water and other fluids, and more. Make a checklist of the following items that you and your patient can gather in the final weeks of her pregnancy:
Comfort supplies are essential for a smooth and safe delivery. Luckily, most of this gear is easy to find. Most patients already have these things around the house, but it’s important to double-check before the baby comes. Make sure you have at least a couple of pillows for comfort and support. It’s also a good idea to keep comfortable, loose clothes on hand. Have comfy outfits ready for both during and after the birth.
Ice packs and hot-water bottles will help soothe mothers during labor. Additionally, make sure you have access to ice chips, ice cubes, or popsicles to help mothers cool down or stay hydrated.
Painkillers and Other Medicine
Painkillers, nausea relief, and other medicines can be incredibly useful during a home birth. However, some moms-to-be prefer a completely natural birth with no drugs whatsoever. Work with your patient to decide what you should have on hand. Over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are good to bring if your patient wants them. Drugs for nausea relief can also be useful.
Food and Fluids
Labor is an exhausting process that takes a lot out of the body. Mothers need to stay hydrated and keep their energy up throughout their labor. Always keep a large refillable water bottle on hand. Other healthy drinks—such as juice, tea, or sports drinks—can help replace lost fluids, especially during a long labor.
Moms can also eat light foods during the early stages of labor to get more nutrients and energy. Clear broth, applesauce, popsicles, or toast are all good examples of light snacks that will help curb hunger during early labor.
Having some simple hygienic supplies on hand can help keep your mom-to-be feeling a little fresher and calmer during labor. Extra-large overnight pads are a comfortable and easy way to minimize mess during delivery. You should also keep a couple of washcloths and water on hand to wipe away sweat and keep your patient cool and calm throughout the process.
Supplies for Baby
You’ll also need to gather supplies to take care of the baby once they’re born. The key things to remember when gathering baby gear are comfort, warmth, and safety.
You’ll need gentle, unscented wipes to clean off the baby when they arrive. Use water-only wipes or dry wipes that you can wet. You can also use olive oil to soothe the baby’s bottom when wiping away meconium.
Clothes and Diapers
Just like moms, babies need comfortable clothes after the labor and delivery. Soft baby onesies are perfect for dressing the baby. You don’t need anything overly complex: comfort and warmth are the biggest priorities. Likewise, have a couple of soft baby hats for the baby to wear after birth. Finally, you’ll want to have a stock of newborn diapers ready to go as soon as the baby is born.
Towels and Blankets
You’ll want a few large towels on hand to clean up messes and prevent stains on floors or furniture. Make sure the towels are clean, but don’t use brand new ones in case they get ruined. Finally, avoid handling the newborn with rough towels that will be uncomfortable on their sensitive skin.
Receiving blankets are also a must. These small, soft, durable blankets are perfect for handling and swaddling newborns straight out of the womb.
Supplies for the Midwife
Midwives need both general supplies and medical equipment for a safe home birth. Remember that every mother is different, so the specific equipment you’ll need will vary from patient to patient. However, you can start your home birth supplies checklist of what you need to prepare with these essentials:
Like any medical professional, you need to prioritize sanitation. Always have rubbing alcohol and peroxide with you. Latex-free gloves are also crucial for a safe and clean delivery. Finally, make sure you have disinfectant wipes or anything else you need to sterilize tools before and after you use them.
You should already have most, if not all, of the medical equipment necessary for assisting with a home birth, but always take the time to double-check your supplies before you need them. Basic essentials include a thermometer, fetal stethoscope, cord clamp, scissors, a tape measure, and gauze. You’ll also want to bring your professional-grade fetal doppler so that you can monitor the baby’s heart rate during labor.
Bedding and Other General Supplies
Now that you have everything you need for the mother, baby, and yourself, make a list of the general supplies you’ll need to keep everything clean and comfortable throughout the labor process.
Prepare the bed or other birthing space with clean pillows and blankets. You can use plastic pillow covers to keep pillows clean during labor. Add plenty of layers to the bed. Your first layer should be a clean fitted sheet that the mother can lay on with her baby after delivery. In the middle should be a waterproof layer; a plastic sheet such as a tablecloth works well for this. Finally, use an old but clean sheet as the top layer.
Other Helpful Supplies
You can keep a few miscellaneous things on hand to make labor and delivery easier. You’ll want a solid tray—it can be something as simple as a baking sheet—to hold tools and supplies while you work. Additionally, make sure there are enough outlets or extension cords in the space to support any electrical equipment you might need. Keep a couple of trash bags nearby as well: one for trash and one for dirty linens.
Finally, talk to your patient about any extra things they might want for the experience. Some mothers want to record the birth, so a camera or a notebook can be useful. Others benefit from having soothing music, essential oils, and other relaxation aids nearby. Work with your mom-to-be to ensure that you have everything you need to keep her safe, comfortable, and confident as she goes through this experience.