The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA


Suggestions for Client's Birth Supplies

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

Preparations for Birth - Your Birth Bags

You will need the following items to prepare your “BIRTH BAGS.” There is no need to purchase new items! We encourage you to use what you already have or borrow from family or friends. Check garage sales and thrift stores for items you need. We have extra linens; please let us know if you need anything.

 Your “BIRTH BAGS” should be prepared at least 3 weeks prior to your estimated due date. 100% cotton or cotton/polyester blends work the best with little or no scorching. Be sure that there are NO plastic fasteners (snaps, buttons or zippers) on any of the clothing, as they may melt. We prefer light-colored linens (for easier estimation of blood loss). Wash everything in hot soapy water. Immediately dry in a hot dryer or in the sunshine. Fold items small enough to fit inside paper bags. Place folded items in bags in the order listed, so that the last item listed is on the top of the bag. Fold down tops of bags and seal with tape or staples. Using a permanent marker, label each bag with its number and contents. (You may need to use 5 bags, so label the fifth bag accordingly.) Heat oven to 250ºF and place a pan of water in the very bottom of the oven to prevent scorching. Place one sealed paper bag on rack in the center of the oven, being careful not to let the bag touch the top, back or sides. Bake each bag for 1 hour. DO NOT leave bags unattended while baking! Remove immediately from oven and store UNOPENED in a clean, dry place. This process, which we consider a ritual in preparation for your birth, provides for clean, sterile linens and clothing for the birth.

Additional Items: Please be SURE to have the following:


In the event of a hospital transfer, a smoother transition takes place if a bag of personal items for the mother is pre-packed and ready to go. In a small suitcase, pack the following items:

The thing we found most useful was those little bendy straws, which meant I was able to keep drinking during labour even when I was lying down or whatever position I was in.

here's the info:

You probably got a list from your midwife like I did - one thing that she said really helped with dehydration during labour was something she called Labour Aide - a drink that is supposed to be very similar to an IV - but that is oral.

I suggest that you fill your mind with positive expectations via affirmation and/or visualizations. Hear good birth stories from others. As for stuff-let's see...a birth stool is nice (do the midwives bring one?) Plastic drop cloths-one for the floor and one for the bed. Put sheets on, then the drop cloth, then another set of sheets. A crockpot with comfrey tea is good for hot compresses to prevent tears. Rosemary oil is good for perineal massage. A mirror to see the birth. Dad may support you by sitting on a bed behind you if you squat or sit on a birthstool, and a mirror helps see the birth. Lots of juices to drink- Recharge or other natural sports drink is good for energy. Pedialyte tastes boring, but is good to have for hydration. A little inspirational photo, poem, altar, flowers, picture of your child or yourself as a child, tiny baby clothes... less practical but nice to inspire one in labor. Take comfrey tea or water and soak some maxi pads , then freeze. Good for your bottom and perineum afterwards. Tucks pads or witch hazel salve or witch hazel on gauze is good for your bottom. Comfrey makes a good sitz bath or tea to put in the tub for healing tears. Afterease tincture which contains motherwort and cramp- bark is good for afterpains which tend to come with a 2nd or later baby. Available from Cascade Birthing supply. Have lots of food for you, your husband and the birth team. I may not have told you anything new, but this is what I suggest for my home birth clients. Also, add a working flashlight to the list. Maybe some peroxide or tonic water to remove blood from the carpeting.

One thing that I found helpful was to make the bed with clean sheets, then put your mattress cover on (or shower curtain), and then make it again with sheets you don't mind getting dirty. That way you don't slip and slide on the plastic. :) > Another thing that I loved was my Little tykes stool. Really cheap and was perfect to help me squat and easy to clean.

I had a homebirth 4 mos. ago. I threw up through most of my labor (which the midwives think is ok, b/c it helps you to dilate). Thankfully I subconsciously anticipated the barfing (I usually get sick when I have a migraine, so I just must have known), and after reading about women in the hospital who are often denied liquids using ice chips to remain hydrated, I decided to make Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Ice Cubes. They were a goddess-send! At the times when the nausea was the worst, and I couldn't really hold tea or water down and nux vomica didn't help, I was able to keep my mouth moist and get a little liquid down and they tasted great. Besides that, I'd say a bowl to throw up in if you have to go through vomiting, you won't want to get up and run to the toilet every time, especially during transition! (It's really not as bad as it sounds)

Don't forget to nap as much as possible the last month or so -- homebirths are generally longer, b/c there is no medical intervention to speed things up, just so the doctor can make his tee time or squash match, etc.

- Have plenty of blankets, pillows, and beds for not only you but

  also all the other people around.  We had two midwives, my husband,

  my mom & dad & sister, and a friend around for virtually all of my

  45 hour labor, and sleeping space and blankets were at a premium,

  especially since I kicked everyone out of my bedroom so I could

  labor by myself in the dark ;-)
- candles (the most comfortable illumination for me, since I wanted to be in the dark but needed some light for people to check on me every hour or so)

- food & stuff for everyone else in the house

- lots of liquids, broths, light food, whatever you might be willing to eat in labor. If I hadn't been eating and drinking, I wouldn't have made it all the way through my birth at home. (I didn't *want* to eat or drink most of the time, but I forced myself since I liked going to the hospital for an IV even less.)

- a heating pad of some sort (felt good on my back, since I had back labor most of the time)

- a shower massage (helped earlier in labor for me)

- it would have been nice to have something padded to put in the bathtub so I could have had a comfortable bath, but I don't know. Even though I'm only 5 ft. 2 in., while in labor the bathtub looked too darned small and uncomfortable for me to get into. I just showered, but I did get tired standing up. Maybe a stool that you could put in the shower so you could sit down would be good.

- I spent the vast majority of my labor sitting in a nice padded rocking chair (covered with those blue pads), sitting on the toilet (!), walking, or lying on my side. Lying down wasn't comfortable, but there were a few lulls in my labor where I could catch a few winks in between contractions if I were lying down. I could also doze off a bit in the rocker (I put it by my bed and put my feet up on the bed and covered up with a down comforter--it was damn cold in February in Michigan!).

- camera & film--we didn't take pictures of the birth, but there was a virtual orgy of picture taking afterwards.

- food to live on after the birth

- someone to take care of all three of you for the next week or two (Mom stayed for two weeks and it was *wonderful*)

- lots and lots of receiving blankets

- herbal baths (do your midwives recommend them? they were *great* for us)

- clothes to labor in (I used Land's End's oversized sleep t's and they were great)

- laundry tip--to get blood out of anything, just rinse in cold water before running a regular laundry cycle. Works for everything but meconium, so don't let meconium get on anything you're not willing to sacrifice ;-) 

After two homebirths, I have a lot of ideas. :-)

  1. Make sure that your husband knows where all the birth stuff is.
  2. Write a birth plan and give it to your midwives, husband and anyone else who will be at the birth.
  3. If you have extra people at the birth, make them responsible for things like food and drink for the midwife crew, warming the receiving blankets, making sure the house is warm, etc.
  4. Post emergency phone numbers and phone numbers of your helpers by each telephone.
  5. Sheila Kitzinger's _Homebirth_ has a good section on positions and props for birth.
  6. Do labor rehearsals with your husband. Make him find the birth supplies and practice having him support you in different positions.
  7. Freeze some itty-bitty ice cubes and fruit juice ice cubes before the birth. Then you can suck on them if you get hot and thirsty.
  8. Chairs, sofas, big cushions and pillows are nice to have around the birthing area. Think about a birthing "gymnasium" that will let you change position and rest between contractions.
  9. Practice squatting, 15 minutes at a time, every day. Something that you can hang onto while you squat is nice (doorknobs work well).
  10. I found that I like to do an enema in early labor so I'll feel freer later. You might want to buy a Fleet enema or two so you'll have one available if you want one.
  11. Have a place near the labor area that can be a bonding nest. It should also be a place you can deliver the placenta.
  12. Prepare a post-birth feast well ahead of time.





    Another consideration is someone to stay with your other child if the other child isn't going to be present during the birth or becomes upset. I was assigned babysitter for my friend's last homebirth and it seemed to go very well. Her other two children were great. They were concerned about mom, but not too wigged out. We stayed in the living room and read stories while mom was in the back laboring with dad and mid-wives. At one point, the oldest child, a six year old stopped me in mid-sentence to shush me and say "listen. I'm glad I'm not a woman so I don't have to give birth." They were both okay when they realized that their mom was just working very hard, but you probably don't want to rely on them fending for themselves during that sort of experience.

    This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about Supplies


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