Natural Parenting Toolbox: Preparing the House for Homebirth

A bedroom with preparations for birthThis is a good time to get everything together that you will need, if you plan to birth at home. In the first stages of labor you will have ample time to set it all up:

  • A comfortable mattress if you plan to birth in the bed or a birthing tub for a waterbirth.
  • A plastic sheet or shower curtain to place over the mattress to protect it.
  • An old set of sheets that you don’t mind getting stained.
  • Reusable (or if necessary, disposable) bed pads. You should be able to find disposable ones at a pharmacy or medical supply store but large prefold cloth diapers will work really well as an alternative.
  • Any music, massage oils, birthing balls etc should be within easy reach to help you along.
  • Several towels and washcloths. These may get stained.
  • Antiseptic soap, such as PhisoDerm, for scrubbing up with.
  • Rubbing alcohol.
  • A comfortable robe or night gown for after the baby is born. 
  • Large cloth menstrual pads for after the baby is born (these are much more comfortable than disposable ones).
  • A large bowl to catch the placenta.
  • Newspaper to lay out on the floor to soak up any liquids.
  • A work area near the bed, such as a table or a dresser top for the midwife’s supplies.
  • A place where the midwife can lie down and rest, if necessary.
  • Snacks and drinks for everyone.

You may want to wash all the sheets, towels and washcloths that you’ve set aside for the birth in hot water with chlorine bleach. Dry them in the hottest setting on the dryer, then fold them while they are still hot. Put them in unused plastic bags and seal them with tape until it is time to use them. Talk to your midwife about what she thinks is needed.

Your midwife will have other specific items she wants you to set up or purchase. She may also have very specific ideas on sterilization procedures. This is a good time to speak to her about these details, if you have not done so already.

This is also a great time to get things ready for any older children you have who will be present at the homebirth. Stock up on art supplies or other projects that will keep them busy while they are waiting for the birth. Find a spot in the room where the birth will take place where they can park themselves that will not interfere with the midwife’s activities, yet will also keep them feeling that they are a part of things. Find some pillows and a blanket that your children can use to take a nap or close their eyes for a while if they get tired.

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