Want to learn more about how to best prepare for your home birth? Here are 5 tips and tricks from the midwives at Sky Valley Midwifery to help you feel ready.
Home Birth, Midwifery Care, Labor, Water Birth
Home birth is such an intimate and empowering experience. Believe it or not, it is simple to plan for! Your midwife will bring *almost* all the necessary items for your birth with them and will clearly specify which items you will need to purchase on your own ahead of time.
That being said, there are additional ways that you and your family can prepare ahead of time to make your experience everything you hoped for and then some. Here are our personal favorites.
Tip #1 - Have a basket full of clean towels.
You and your birth team will find lots of reasons to use towels. Towels will be used to dry you off any time you want to get in the shower or a birth pool, to dry your baby upon delivery, to use for a cool rag on your forehead, etc. Plan to have between 5-10 full-size towels, a handful of hand towels, and a washcloth.
All towels can be washed after delivery so do not worry about these towels needing to be thrown away afterwards. Your birth team will bag birth-related laundry up and can coach your support person on how to clean the laundry after birth.
Tip #2 - Experiment with the lighting.
Being comfortable in your space is one of the most important factors in play to allow for the body to relax into labor. The way that the room is lit can make a difference! A bright, white light can be too overstimulating in the moment but a warmly lit light or a lamp can be perfect. Play around with what kind of lighting makes you feel the most relaxed and make sure that it's available for your support system to turn on during labor. We recommend flameless tea lights to provide a whimsical, romantic feel but without the risk of open flame 😅🔥
Birth Affirmation: "My mind, my body, and my home are all ready for my baby's arrival" - relaxedbirthing.co.uk
Tip #3 - Include your favorite smells.
All of a person's senses are heightened in labor. Depending on how they are being triggered, this can be either a benefit or a hindrance.
🚩 Cooking or microwaving savory foods, brewing a pot of coffee, rippin' a fart near your woman while she's in labor...you get the idea.
✅ lemon/peppermint/lavender essential oil, her favorite candle, fresh air from an open window.
Tip #4 - If using a birth pool, set it up ahead of time to see where it best fits.
Set up your birth pool ahead of time so that you know where it fits best and aren't stuck with that task in the throws of labor. We don't recommend setting it up and leaving it up ahead of time at the risk of it being popped by a pet's nails or a child's toy. Early labor is a great time to set up the tub.
Living rooms or large bedrooms are the best places for birth pools to be placed. They contain roughly 115 gallons of water when filled so if going on a second-story floor, ensure that wherever it will be placed can sustain the weight of the pool when full. Your care team will request that at least 3 sides of the pool be open (no putting the pool in the corner of the room). This allows the team to best support you should you need assistance or desire to birth in the pool.
Tip #5 - Stock up on your favorite snacks.
In labor, most people are not hungry but will need at least one snack that they can eat to replenish their energy stores. Think about any foods that you gravitate towards when you are sick. These will most likely be the same foods that sit best with you when in labor. Foods with a high sugar index are great for labor because they provide easily broken-down sources of glucose to the body. Our recommendations are foods such as honey, frozen fruit bars, fruit leather, bread and butter, etc.
Remember, preparing for your home birth should not be stressful! Keep it simple. The only must-have item on this list is the towels, otherwise, it's all based on preference. Preparing for your birth should be exciting and give you confidence for this experience.
We would love to hear your personal recommendations for home birth prep! Drop your best recommendations in the comments.