Around the 36th week of pregnancy, one of my favorite prenatal visits occurs - the home visit! This prenatal visit is so sweet, because it's the culmination of many months of preparation and growth, and it's just around the corner from the 37-42 week birth window. This is the visit where my clients express that their homebirth on the horizon starts to "feel real." At this visit, we get to envision together where labor will take place, we discuss the family's birth preferences, and we organize the birth supplies. There are just a few items that families need to provide as supplies for birth (most they already have on hand, like towels, an extra set of bed sheets, and a cookie sheet - no, it's not for the placenta!). All of the other supplies necessary for the birth are provided by me in the birth kit.
Some midwives will have their clients order and purchase a birth kit through a birth kit supplier website. I have decided to provide the birth kit to my clients at no additional charge. Whatever supplies they use for their birth won't cost them any extra than my global fee. But what's included in the birth kit? A lot more than you'd think!
- Plastic Bed Protection - In all my years of birth work, we've only lost one mattress to a birth! Using the included plastic drapes ensures your mattress remains pristine during the birthing process.
- Plastic Drop-Cloth for Floor Protection - This plastic is typically used underneath of the birth tub to prevent dripping water on the floor when you're getting in and out of the tub. If you'd like, you can lay a couple large towels or bath mats on top of the plastic to help soak up any water that drips down.
- Stainless Steel Reusable Straw - We want to make sure you are hydrated in labor! And drinking out of a straw is much easier than lifting a cup when you're laboring in all sorts of positions.
- Electrolyte Packets - Speaking of hydration, when you're in labor, your body is working very hard. We often need more than just water to keep your body well-hydrated and to ensure your uterus is working efficiently.
- NingXia Berry Juice - Sometimes during (or immediately after) labor, you need a little boost.
- Emesis Bags - Sometimes nausea occurs during labor and if you become so nauseated that you throw up, these handy emesis bags keep everything contained and easy to dispose of.
- Fracture Pan - This one IS for the placenta! This pan is what the placenta goes into upon delivery. It's similar to a little bowl that the placenta sits in next to you until you are ready to cut the cord.
- Umbilical Cord Band - I really don't prefer the large umbilical clamps, so I like to use a band instead. The cord band is similar to a tiny rubber band that secures the cord as it dries and falls off. It is less bulky than the clamp and doesn't get easily bumped or pulled on while the cord is drying.
- Birth Pool Kit (including birth pool, air pump, liner, 50ft hose, hose adapter to connect hose to water source, pool debris net) - The birth pool that I use is the Birth Pool in A Box Mini Pro. I feel like it's the perfect size to fit every space and comfortably fit mom in labor. These tubs are reusable and loaned out for the duration of your labor. The birth pool kit includes a sterile liner, which makes the reusable pool brand new to you! It also includes everything that you need to inflate the pool and connect it to a warm water source. And don't worry about draining / cleaning the pool - that's our job and we've got it covered.
- Other Supplies - There are several other (less exciting) supplies in the kit that we may or may not use, depending on what's needed during each birth:
- Gloves (Sterile and Non-Sterile)
- Sterile Lubrication
- Alcohol Pads
- Amniotest Swab
- Suture Supplies
- Trash Bags
- Ziplock Bags
- Paper Towel Rolls
- Sanitization Wipes
- Hydrogen Peroxide - Sometimes a drop or a splash of blood can land where we don't want it to. Hydrogen peroxide is our megic potion for removing blood from any surface or fabric. You'll never know a birth happened there!
- Depends-Style Disposable Underwear - These are the actual *best* when it comes to comfort and cleanliness in the first few days postpartum. The combination of a pad + disposable underwear in one means less laundry, fewer leaks and more convenience during an already tender time. We include four of these in your birth kit to get you started.
- Perineal Cold Pack - I don't usually recommend a cold compress right after birth, because we want to allow adequate blood flow to your perineal tissues to promote healing. However, we do include a perineal cold pack in the birth kit in case you have a lot of swelling or pain initially to help ease the discomfort and bring the swelling down.
- Peri-Bottle - You definitely don't want to wipe when you use the toilet after birth. Using a peri-bottle to rise off after the bathroom keeps your perineum comfortable and sanitary while it heals. Using postpartum herbal tea (see below) in your peri-bottle further promotes healing to your tissues.
- Postpartum Herbs - The birth kit includes a jar of postpartum herbs that can be used for your peri-bottle, sitz baths and for postpartum vaginal steaming. Herbs have been used for generations to help your body heal well after birth.
- Belly Binding Wrap - We often say that both Mama and baby get a diaper and a swaddle after birth - lovingly, of course. One of the last things we do before we leave the birth is we gently massage your belly with oil and wrap your belly with a lightweight, yet supportive belly wrap. This provides security, warmth, abdominal support and promotes proper healing of the abdominal muscles. It's like a warm hug that holds you as you heal.
- Vick's Quick Read Thermometer - Each kit provides a brand new thermometer to check your temperature in labor and to monitor both your temperature and your baby's temperature after birth. You'll continue to use this thermometer to monitor both yours and your baby's temperature for a few days after birth.
- Ibuprofen, Arnica Tablets, Afterease Tincture - These are a few of the options we offer for pain management in the first few hours after birth. A more natural alternative to Ibuprofen is curcumin or turmeric capsules, which are also anti-inflammatory but not hard on your stomach/liver. These are all great options to purchase to have on hand if you feel you may need pain management longer than for the first few hours after birth.
- Postpartum Herbs - You can also prepare some of the postpartum herbs discussed above to use as an herbal bath for both you and your baby. Most babies enjoy a warm herbal bath once their cord has fallen off, especially if you hop in the bath with them.
- Newborn Screen Supplies - If you choose to have the newborn screen done for your baby, the supplies to collect this test are included in the kit.
- Eldon Card - If your blood type is Rh negative and your partner's blood type is Rh positive, we will collect cord blood from the placenta after the birth to test your baby's blood type. We'll know right away what your baby's blood type is with the Eldon Card and we also send out a blood specimen to the lab for confirmation.
- Vitamin K and/or Eye Ointment - Most providers will charge an additional fee for these newborn interventions. If you choose to utilize them, the cost is included in the birth kit, so there is no additional fee.
These are just the basics! There is so much more that we carry in our midwifery bags - typically the things that we use less often, like IV fluids and oxygen, or things that we only need to carry one or two of, like Rebozos or hand held fans, specialty herbs and other supplies. We really try to prepare for every scenario, so we have exactly what you need when you need it. In addition to dropping off the birth kit and labor tub kit at the 36 week visit, I also provide a folder of handouts, which details all of the important information you need to know for the day of and the days after.
What else would you like to see included in your birth kit? Let me know below in the comments!
And if you'd like to know more about the supplies that you do need to provide for your homebirth, check out my Amazon storefront for links to all of the items on the Homebirth Supply List in your home visit folder handout. I do get commissions on the items linked there, but you don't have to pay any extra!
With Love & Gratitude,