Thursday, September 22, 2011

homebirth preparation: birth supplies

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When it comes to putting together the supplies needed for birth, the list can vary greatly between providers.  Some want you to purchase a birth kit. Some have a general list and it's up to you to find where to get them (most can be purchased at drugstores or a medical supply).

My first time around, I wondered why we needed some things, or the purpose of some items.  I've included my understanding of the purpose of each item in italics.

Here are a list of supplies that we'll be gathering for birth:

During Birth:

  • Disposable large underpads (20) - these 30x30 or so squares are great for catching birth fluids and help prevent lots of excessive clean-up! Used during cervical checks, while baby is coming out, etc.
  • large stack of clean towels and washcloths that can get stained/dirty - the towels could be used to dry off baby, but also to clean up mama.  Wash clothes are often used as warm compresses on the perineum, or as cool clothes for mama's face and neck.
  • paper towels or extra cleaning rags 
  • plastic sheeting/table cloth - this can be nice to protect floors, beds, furniture.  You can put fabric over the plastic (as you do for prepping the bed.)
  • betadine solution - for washing hands and mama's birthing parts
  • hydrogen peroxide - good for removing blood stains from fabrics, for adding to birth tub water
  • isopropyl alchohol
  • olive oil - for the perineum - perineal massage during labor, and for a little lubrication during birth.
  • bendable straws - because there are times you don't want to situate your self to drink from a cup like one normally would
  • thermometer - for tracking mama's temp during labor
  • packed hospital bag - just in case... contains things you would take on a trip - change of clothes, toiletries, snacks, clothes for baby, camera, phone and camera chargers, etc. 
  • Labor drink (Emergen-C or LAbor-Aid), snacks - to keep hydrated and fueled during labor

Following Birth:

  • sterile bulb syringe (3 0z, ear type) - for sucking out mucus from baby's mouth and nose
  • basket/bag for soiled laundry - self explanatory, I should hope
  • large trashbags - again, for things like the underpads, paper towels, used sterile gloves, etc.
  • receiving blankets (several) - These get dirty surprisingly fast!  I think we went through about 10 of them in the first two hours of N's life.  They get soiled with blood and fluids as baby is dried off, and sometimes urine and meconium the baby may pass during those first hours.
  • baby's first out fit - diaper, cotton hat, socks, shirt
  • cold packs for perineum - great for first 24 or so hours after birth
  • ice - for mouth or perineum
  • sanitary napkins/pads - for postpartum bloodflow - some people just get adult diapers like Depends for the first few days
  • peri bottle - a squeeze bottle for rinsing the perineum after using the toilet during the first few weeks postpartum.  Fill with warm water or certain herbal teas, and it's much more soothing and gentle than using toilet paper.
  • sitz bath - for postpartum perineum care - warm water on sore parts and bottoms makes healing up nicer!
  • sitz bath herbs - to encourage faster, more comfortable healing
  • goldenseal powder for cord care
  • cotton swabs - cord care
  • container for placenta - bowl/basin to catch, large sealable plastic bag or ice cream bucket if you want to store/freeze it

  • Witch Hazel - for soothing the perineum after birth. Very nice when placed on pads and frozen, also nice for postpartum hemorrhoids

Things my midwife will already have with her (but some midwives ask clients to get):

  • sterile gloves - say no to infection!
  • cord clamps/cord bander - I love the cord bander my midwife uses - so much nicer and smaller than the plastic clamps most use!
  • scissors for cord - have to cut it with something.
  • fetoscope/doppler - for tracking baby's heart tones during labor. I have a fetoscope, myself just for fun!
  • baby scale
  • measuring tape
  • And a couple bags of medical and emergencies supplies I hope we don't have to use!

What supplies have you found especially helpful during and after birth?  Any that you felt were totally useless?


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