We outline the most common homebirth supplies you’ll need to have on hand during your labour, for the birth, and after. After all having a homebirth can be a gloriously life-changing event. In addition, planning and preparing for a homebirth can be an exciting experience too, as you collect together the supplies you’ll need. But what do you need?
Homebirth Supplies for labour
Labour requires lots of energy, courage and self-belief. But beyond these essential yet intangible things, there are some homebirth supplies which can help to make you more comfortable.
A birth pool can allow you to take advantage of the soothing benefits of submersion during in water during labour and birth and makes a great addition to your homebirth supplies. PBB is Australia’s largest stockist of birth pools and provides a range of single and multiple-use pools to suit different budgets. Birth pool accessories include:
Wheat or hot packs or a hot water bottle make a great start to your homebirth supplies. Heat can be very soothing during labour by helping to relieve pain and providing comforting warmth. PBB’s store offers self-heating packs in a range of shapes and sizes.
Four or five cloth nappies to use as hot compresses are also great to have on hand amongst your homebirth supplies. When soaked in hot water, nappies cover a larger area of your body than hot packs. Additionally, they mould to your body and tend to ‘stick’ to your skin, making them less likely to fall when you move. They also won’t be damaged if they fall in the birth pool! Don’t forget a bucket to soak the nappies in and a pair of rubber gloves perfect for wringing out your hot compresses.
Labour Aide is an electrolyte replacement ideal for labour. Labour is like rigorous exercising in that it causes depletion in your electrolytes which are essential to the functioning of your cells. A little like sports drinks, Labour Aide works to replace these electrolytes and give you energy. Labour Aide can be made at home and added to your homebirth supplies in the last weeks of your pregnancy. Alternatively, the Endura Magnesium Rehydration Formula is available from health food or sports stores.
Labour Aide Recipe
¼ cup honey
One teaspoon salt
One crushed calcium tablet
1/3 cup lemon juice
Mix all ingredients and then add even quantities of water and juice to taste (apple, blackcurrant or cranberry) to make the mixture up to 2 litres. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
Incontinence pads are very useful to have on hand when your waters break (and after the birth) and are much more absorbent than sanitary pads. Incontinence pads can be purchased online through the PBB store, or from supermarkets and pharmacies. Buy these early on to add to your homebirth supplies.
Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic Bach Flower remedy which is particularly useful in supporting the body and mind during stressful or traumatic situations. Rescue Remedy comes in the form of drops, pastilles and a spray. Rescue Remedy is available through your local pharmacy or from good health food stores.
Lip Balm or Lanolin can be marvellous to soothe lips that can become dry and sore as a result of mouth breathing during labour. Pick your favourite and add it into your homebirth supplies.
Socks might sound like an odd addition to your homebirth supplies but having cold feet is unpleasant for most, and no less so during labour!
Don’t forget to have your Pregnancy Folder on hand including your Medicare Number, health insurance number and antenatal card or record in case of hospital transfer.
Homebirth Supplies for the Birth
An oxygen cylinder is vital to have in your birth supplies in case your baby needs a little help after birth. Hire an oxygen cylinder 2-3 weeks before your baby’s expected birth date. Your midwife will provide you with details on how to organise this.
A placenta container will be used by your midwife to p