If you’ve decided to bring your baby into the world with a home birth, congratulations on taking this thrilling, life-changing step. You probably already know the basics of what you’ll need in order to make this a safe, comfortable journey, but it doesn’t hurt to double check that you have every item and service prepared.
To help you stay organized and make sure that your natural home birth goes off without a hitch, we’ve created a checklist of everything your midwife is likely to want you to have on hand in advance. Read on for the ultimate home birth checklist complete with tips and must-have supplies for the big day.
Why Choose a Home Birth?
If you're considering a home birth, you might be feeling both excited and a little overwhelmed. After all, birthing in a home setting can be a wonderful and empowering experience, but it also requires some careful preparation on your end.
So why choose a home birth? Well, for one, birthing at home is easier on your wallet due to its cost-effectiveness. Home births usually cost around half as much as hospital births without insurance. On top of that, there's the added benefit of being able to control your environment. You can choose who's present during delivery, the amount of bright lights in the room and the ambiance you want to create, which are all crucial factors in making sure that everyone involved has an amazing birthing experience.
Of course, having an at-home birth doesn't mean you'll be completely on your own when it comes to postpartum help; many midwives or doulas will also offer postpartum support so that you're still keeping yourself and your baby safe even after delivery!
What Are the Benefits of a Home Birth?
Choosing to have a home birth is an incredibly personal decision, and one that can bring a variety of benefits to both you and your baby.
One major benefit of having a home birth is feeling more in control. At home, you will be in an environment that you are familiar and comfortable with, and isn’t subject to other hospital policies and procedures. You can control the level of pain relief used, the people present during labor, and even the kind of snacks at hand!
Plus, studies have shown that home births are just as safe as hospital births for low-risk pregnancies, especially when attended by a trained midwife or healthcare professional. Research has also shown that women who choose to have home births tend to experience less medical intervention compared to those who deliver in the hospital. Home births are associated with decreased risk of interventions such as cesarean sections or vacuum extractions, as well as faster labors and fewer complications after delivery.
What Supplies Do I Need for a Home Birth?
When it comes to supplies, there are a few things you’ll need for your home birth. Don't worry, this list isn't too long and nothing that can’t be acquired or borrowed in advance of your baby's arrival! Here are the basics:
Clean Linens and Towels
You'll want to have plenty of clean sheets, blankets and absorbent towels. Even if you choose to use a plastic sheet over your bed or birthing area, it's a good idea to have a few extra layers of cloth underneath in case anything gets soiled.
It might not seem like an essential item on the surface, but using a birth stool can really help during certain phases of labor, particularly if you're dealing with back labor. The birth stool takes some of the pressure off your back, helping you adjust into more comfortable positions as needed.
Tub or Pool
If waterbirth is something you're considering, make sure you are prepared with a birthing tub or pool. This is something you'll need to rent or borrow if possible. Some pools may even come with a stand that can easily fit inside tubs or showers.
A squatting bar is optional but often very helpful during the pushing stage of labor because it gives you a little extra support while delivering your baby. Sometimes together with the birth stool, it helps provide different angles for comfort during pushing and delivery.
These items should be on your must-have list for having a successful home birth – just remember to get everything in place well before your due date!
Tips for Preparing for a Home Birth
Preparing for a home birth doesn't have to be intimidating. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Choose a Provider Carefully
Your provider should be someone who supports your desire for a home birth. Make sure they understand your goals and are comfortable with the process and the home environment. It’s also important to choose someone who has helped many moms deliver successfully at home.
Do Your Research
Don't be afraid to ask questions and do your research. Be aware of the risks associated with home births and decide if it's right for you. Read up on what you should expect during labor and delivery and find out about the equipment you'll need, such as birthing supplies, pain relief options, any necessary medication or postpartum supplies you may need.
One of the most important things to remember when preparing for a home birth is that it’s important to be prepared for any eventuality. Birth can take many forms and you never know what might happen. Make sure you have everything in place in case an emergency arises or there is a need for medical intervention. Have your doctor or midwife's contact information handy in case they need to be called at any time during the delivery process.
How to Set Up Your Home Birthing Space
If you choose to have a home birth, you'll want to create a space that's comfortable and conducive to the process. Here's what to consider when setting up your birthing space:
Having the right supplies on hand will help make your birthing space more comfortable. Consider having items like pillows, towels, blankets, and mats that can help make you and baby more comfortable during the birth. You may also want an extra water bottle or two close by so you can stay hydrated throughout labor.
Having clean surroundings is just as important. Have plenty of waterproof pads and absorbent towels on hand so that you can quickly clean up any messes that occur during labor and the birth itself. You might also consider having some cleaning wipes or spray so you can keep the area tidied up throughout labor.
Having a private space for your home birth is essential for helping you feel in control of your experience throughout labor and delivery. Try to set up your birthing space in a room without too much outside noise or distraction or with blackout curtains or shades if you need them, so that you can focus on giving birth without interruption from others in the home. If you have other children, it’s best to have someone tend to them as well.
FAQs About Home Births
Is A Home Birth Safe?
The short answer is yes. Home birthing is considered safe as long as you have a qualified provider in attendance. If you develop any risk factors during pregnancy or labor, your provider will suggest a transfer to a hospital.
What Supplies Do I Need for a Home Birth?
When it comes to supplies for your home birth, don't worry about getting too much - you really only need the essentials. Here's what you'll need:
- A birth pool or tub for laboring in
- Sheet protectors and disposable pads for the bed and floor
- Towels, washcloths and extra clothing
- Lighting and blankets
- Breastfeeding supplies (nursing bras, pillows, etc.)
- Baby clothes, diapers and other care items
Preparing for a home birth can be a challenging process, but with the right guidance and an understanding of what is needed, it can be an empowering experience. Use this checklist to help you make sure you are prepared and have all the necessary supplies and accommodations.
Take the time to talk with birth experts and to learn about the different aspects of a home birth and create a birth plan to best represent your wishes. Also, do what you can to make sure your home is comfortable and welcoming for your new family member.
By being prepared and well-informed, you can have a more positive home birth experience and be relaxed in the knowledge that you have done the best you can to ensure a safe and successful delivery.