Choosing to have a homebirth is becoming an increasingly popular option, and isn’t the messy affair that you might imagine! In fact, far from it. You’ll need a list of simple essentials and a few other bits of your own choosing – here are the basics and a few added extras to ensure that your homebirth plan goes as easily as possible.
Firstly, although you’ve got a homebirth planned and/or booked, do make sure that you have a hospital bag ready. If you find yourself in a situation just before, or even during, where you want or have to go to hospital to give birth that last thing you or your birthing partner are going to want to do is start putting a bag together! Do a normal hospital bag pack up and have it ready somewhere handy just in case.
A hospital bag should have a change of (comfy) clothes, clothes to labour in, maternity pads, disposable or old, comfortable underwear, maternity bra, toiletries, snacks and drinks, baby clothes, a few nappies, depending on how you intend to feed you might need a bottle and formula, breast pads, hair bobble/band, comb, slippers and then those added extras that are nice to have such as ipod, magazine, hot water bottle and anything you might want to use through the labour such as a birthing ball, TENS machine, hypnobirthing CD etc. Click here for our article on Packing Your Bag for Labour
Now back to your homebirth list!
Your midwife will bring a homebirth kit with her either before you go into labour, or when you’re in labour. It will include all the things that she needs for you to give birth safely at home.
Have your handheld maternity notes and birthing plan somewhere accessible so you can pass them straight to your midwife. It’s wise to remind whoever is attending to you at home if you’d like the option of gas and air so they can ensure they have spares with them.
Your other essentials will depend on how you intend to labour/give birth. If you want a water birth you’ll need a birthing pool (rented or they can be bought for around the same price). Always have a dry-run (excuse the pun) of inflating and filling the pool before you actually go into labour so that you know how long it takes and where the hose can reach/whether it fits your taps etc.
You’ll need lots of towels for you and baby after the birth and beware that your midwife will likely want you to turn your heating on so that your house is warm for after the birth!
You’ll also need an old/new shower curtain or large waterproof sheet – this will save your carpet and furniture from getting ruined and can be thrown away afterwards.
Have lots of snacks and energy drinks in your cupboards! Cereal bars, bread, Lucozade or similar. In a homebirth it is really important that you can keep your strength up.
Birthing ball, or birthing stool if you’d like to use one.
A pack of paracetamol – these can be used in the first stages of labour and are often recommended by midwives as a good first painkiller to try while in the early stages.
Have a comfy dressing down ready to slip straight on after the birth, as well as maternity knickers or your oldest, most comfortable pair and something to eventually dress baby in.
Then consider do you want to take photos on a camera or phone? Would you like to see baby’s head with a mirror? Would you like candles, dim lights, music etc?
A very comprehensive list of options can be found here https://www.nct.org.uk/birth/what-do-i-need-home-birth
Obviously a homebirth means that you are already surrounded by many of your own home comforts, and so most of the things that you’ll need are already there, but do ensure that you have all of the other things ready so that you don’t need to panic when the big event finally begins.