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Frugal home birth prep?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Woah, I am overwhelmed at how much the birth planning is costing.

I want to have a pool, but rentals are only a bit cheaper around here then buying a new (such as a la bassine or ecopool)

Then to order the birth kit, and all of the other fabulous goodies to make labor easier.
So tell me, how can I make this less stressful financially. What was absolutely necessary for your Homebirth?

Thanks mamas
post #2 of 28

You could always get a kiddie pool instead of an actual birth pool, they are probably going to be on sale soon.

post #3 of 28

Well what kind of goodies do you want?  My birth kit is $75, a $35 fishie pool, and a few other random supplies are on my midwife's list.  The whole works ends up being about $125 for the supplies (SolUMel, sea salt, plastic table clothes, etc.).  Of course there are lots of women who don't do a pool and just use the bathtub....  The expensive part of our birth is the cost of gas for our midwife- her fees aren't even very much :)

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 

LOL. See! Iowa Organic you just gave me new things to think about! What is the sea salt for? And the SoluMel? 

And are you using plastic table cloths as tarps?


Hubby is afraid fishy pool will spring a leak and ruin our rentals carpet. Maybe I should just go for it though. 


I really have no idea, never had a homebirth. The extra stuff was essential oils I don't have, extra sheets, tinctures, etc.

post #5 of 28

Dovemama: Do tell what is on the list. I won't be meeting with my midwife for a couple week and we haven't talked about this stuff. But it did occur to me that there might be added expense for supplies. I think my friend near you bought a birth pool for cheap - I'm hoping I can buy it off of her for cheap when she is done with it. But the other midwife I liked said I should just use my bath tub to labor in - to stop up the emergency overfill part so I can fill it higher. But she didn't really want me to birth in water anyway. 


Could you put the tub in the kitchen - someplace without carpet? I think we'd likely put ours in our basement. Not my favorite room in the house, but better than ruining our wood floors elsewhere.



post #6 of 28

The fishy pool is totally the way to go! No leaks, super cheap, very easy, and then you have a pool afterwards! And, since you aren't re-using it for another mama, you don't need a liner. You can use a tarp to keep the heat in, but that's pretty cheap and you might even find one to borrow.


This is the end-all-be-all thread for fishy pools. Don't be intimidated by the length, the second post has almost all the info you need.


As for other supplies, I found there were two lists. First is the stuff that your MW needs and is usually a given: cord clamp, gloves, towels, etc. My MW sold a kit that was pretty much the same price as if I bought it all myself, but that's because where I live, shipping is super expensive. You might be able to piecemeal it together yourself here.


The other category of stuff is things that will make you more comfortable, and you can find most of those around your house or even at a thrift store, or grocery store. I see your babe is due in Aug (so was mine last year!), so you can even start buying one one or two things at a time now, and it won't hurt $$ so much. You can buy towels and washcloths at a thrift store. Same with a spare set of sheets. A cheap drop cloth in the painting section is a great thing for putting on your mattress and couch for waterproofing. Have a couple waterbottles around the house with yummy, hydrating drinks. I HATE coconut water, but it's so hydrating and I found that I can't taste it if I mix cran juice in it. You can keep your eye on your store to see if a sale pops up between now and summer. Same with other snacks. Other things you most likely already have: camera (keep it charged!), chapstick, lotions, music, candles, tennis balls (great for back pressure), hot rice sock, etc.


You can also post an ISO on Craigslist. I gave away a bunch of extra chux pads, giant pp pads and some depends after DS was born. Good luck!


post #7 of 28

The plastic table clothes are what I actually had DS on- they were all over the living room floor and on the couch- we had about 6 of them and they just moved them to where I wanted to be and they worked awesome.  like a tarp but cheap (and I use them anyway most of the time on my table so I have a stack of old ones that aren't in too bad of shape).  My MW has a pp bath recipe that is awesome and that is what the sea salt and  SolUMel are for- the SolUMel is water soluble tea tree oil.  I would go to the thrift store for the extra sheets- around here you can get them for $4/set or less.  Ask around- people give me their old towels for our shop all the time- I actually use them in the house- but whatever....  Juice, a few hard candies, some snacks like toast, a good nourishing pp meal, and you should really be about good.  If you are nervous about the fishy pool leaking- what about renting a carpet shampooer or shop van to quickly slurp up any water?  I used my carpet shampooer when the kids flooded the bathroom :)  Your midwife should give you a list for your birth kit...

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Awesome, thank you all for the input.
Also that thread about fishy pools was so helpful.

Good idea about the thrift store linens. Having my mum look for some. We have sort of crummy thrift stores around here.

So, since you asked Cindy, my basic things I want, which I don't currently have are therapeutic grade oils, such as clary sage, for stimulating contractions, geranium-relaxing, lavender, ginger, etc.
I have a ton of eo's but none that I trust to be of exceptional quality.
teas for labor and postpartum.
Salves for different needs.
Some homeopathics, etc.
Tinctures for cramps, moods, hemorrhage.

I love the Wise Women Herbal for the Childbearing year by Susan Weed. It has instilled a lot of confidence in being prepared for a home birth.

And now perhaps table cloths.
Cat13, I can't stand the taste of coconut water either, but I am definitely going to try mixing it with cranberry juice. Thanks for the awesome suggestion!

It's actually kind of fun building a little natural birth space.
post #9 of 28

Thanks Dovemama! I'm wondering if I'll just be able to do without a good portion of that stuff. I hated scents during my last labor! I had wanted candles burning but I felt like I was drowning in the scent. Just wondering, but shouldn't your midwife have tinctures, pitocin, etc. in case of a hemmorage? That doesn't seem like something we should have to buy on our own? Or do you mean things to take after to help you recover from it- once the danger part is done? 

post #10 of 28
The dollar store has Shower curtains or table cloths to keep things clean, along with a spray bottle you can use to spray herbal infusions on after you give birth. They also sell things such as epsom salt, hydrogen peroxide. You can use a shoe string or rubber band to tie off the embilical cord (if your midwife wants yout to buy your own). The fishy pools have been used by many, if you look on amazon the reviews are by homebirthers. Not sure exactly what you ae buying but the dollar store helped us cut down prices lol. Also a lot of herbs you can buy fresh from a farmers market, which is actually cheaper than at, say, wal-mart. (and healthier smile.gif
post #11 of 28
My midwife just gave me a list of things and personally I didn't use or have most of the stuff on it for my first birth and don't want the hassle or expense of gathering it this time. The only thing I will use that I don't already have is a $10 vinyl mattress cover for the bed I plan to labor in, Although I already keep waterproof mattress covers on all my beds and custom fit ones to go under the upholstery on my couch cushions, but it will be easier to take the vinyl one off after birth and have fresh sheets underneath with an other waterproof cover under those. I will use a simple cotton string to tie off the cord and don't get into all that herbal stuff or the hassle of a waterbirth, plus I have a fairly deep soaking tub if I decide to use water. Everything else I already have, thermometer, suction thingy, medical scissors, etc... Instead of chic pads, I'll be using regular bath towels, that's what I did last time and my husband washed a couple loads afterwards and they all came perfectly clean and unstained. Oh, I do need a stethoscope...
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 

Vegan Princess,

Yes I am sure mw carries pitocin and the one with the m word (can't remember) 

I just happen to love herbs, and am passionate about it.

So it's all just my preference. 


Now doubt you can get thru without any of it, since last time I only had some lavender eo (which I sniffed like a mad woman), and obviously midwife will be prepared.



post #13 of 28

We got shower curtains at the dollar store. I have arnica and Wish gardens after ease on hand but that's it for homeopathy. No tub for us (2nd floor apartment and didn't like the water with DD).


The birth kit was like $60 for us and was our MWs kit from a site she uses so no choice there. I got receiveing blankets for the birth from a friend. Clothes off freecycle and family hand me downs. Everything else was small stuff (paper towels, soap, etc)

post #14 of 28

I had a number of herbs and remedies and never remembered to take them.  I found that yo really need someone who is knowledgeable and can give it to you when needed.  Does your MW have much knowledge about herbs or remedies?

post #15 of 28


post #16 of 28

musts for my last birth were:

a waterproof covering for the bed (most of my birth was on my bed, that's were my water broke)

2 sets of sheets (one for during, one for after. if you don't have two sets of sheets, you'll probably want another for after baby comes anyway. can't count the number of times we've had spit-up on our sheets and not been able to wash them in time to sleep again)
chux pads (to try and catch most of the mess, both during the birth and after for the bleeding)

something to puke into (I always puke several times during labor. not everyone does, but it's good to have something on hand)

towels (again, to clean up the mess)

heating pad (warmed op the receiving blankets for the baby and to ease after-pains)

peroxide (to clean any blood that gets on the carpet or sheets)

straws for sipping water through

thermometer for checking baby's temp (you should have one anyway)

baby-wipes (both for the baby and for me)


receiving blankets

newborn hat

menstrual pads

sterile gauze (used for cleaning enough to check for tears)

post #17 of 28

I just had a home birth and even though I kind of wanted a pool we didn't get one. I also wanted to keep my costs down. Truthfully the birth went fast so I wouldn't have used it long at all! I just bought the home birth kit for about $90. I was also told to get a shower curtain liner and I went to our local thrift shop to buy sheets that I could throw out after the birth. I bought cheap maxi pads from the 0.99 store. I would recommend buying a sitz bath and you can just use sea salt and warm water to sit in if you need to after the birth. My midwife told me to have the fridge packed with high protein foods and some comfort foods for after the birth. Let me know if you have more questions.

post #18 of 28

I just wanted to point out that, ime, all births are different. The first time I went through all this business about baking a roll of toilet paper, etc., which I never used,  but the time I was sure I needed  a special stool to lean on I wound up spending much of the labor with one leg kinda wrapped around my head to encourage my little sunny-side up baby to find his way out. The baby I had multiple layers on the bed for insisted on being born in the living room, and so forth.


It's not that my kids are unnaturally contrary, either. :D


So, I think essentials include: a working camera and someone to operate it (not partner or medical personnel, and not someone who will be too overcome by the experience to push the 'go' button.)

A big stack of newspapers for the floor.

A squirt bottle for going pee afterwards.

Something high calorie for when you feel sorry for yourself.

A partner who will stay calm.

Someone to mind existing children, who generally find labor dull.

A functional way to wash and dry laundry.

Food for family and attendants with a smell that doesn't make you ill.

A working shower.



Glamorous, isn't it? ;)



post #19 of 28

Our MWs provided a birth kit with chux pads, medical equipment (the stuff they'd need, and also peri bottles, etc.) and newborn cap.  Otherwise, if I recall correctly we needed:

-a second set of sheets for birthing on (thrift store - the queen size were $10, the mismatched king were $3...we bought the king and saved some money winky.gif  My only regret is that I got really eked out by what had occurred on those sheets and actually made my MWs throw them in the garbage instead of wash them!  so silly!  especially now that I'm PG with #2...)

-a shower curtain liner (I think this was in the birth kit, but we got one at a dollar store for $1 before we knew)

-2 rolls of paper towels (they had us buy nice ones, which they then didn't see and used the cheapies under the sink anyway...)

-two towels, one for me, one for baby after the birth - we used old ones we planned to throw out, but after the sheet silliness I washed and kept them for backups after dirty days outside

-pads for post-partum bleeding

-lavender oil/aloe vera juice - I think it's a mothering recipe, but MWs gave me copy of recipe for frozen PP pads - AWESOME.  Couldn't have survived without them

-fit ball for rolling on during labor (I used the one I already owned for workouts, but I think they're $20 at Sporting goods stores)


I think that's it.  We didn't use a tub (didn't think I'd want one and I was right - tried our regular tub at one point and it totally slowed me down and made everything more painful, so I got out fast) or any other fanciness.  I see the MWs for the first time with this pregnancy tomorrow, so if I see anything else on their list I'll repost, but the acoutrements weren't the expensive part for us, it was the cost of the MWs, unfortunately...irked.gif

post #20 of 28

I also found that I didn't use most of the supplies I had. (i had lots of oils, herbs, homeopathics, special snacks, massage stuff etc)

What I did use was:

pilates (birth) ball

my own reg bath tub

lavender oil in the bath helped me relax

old towels and sheets from a friend (try asking on freecycle.org)

$5 mattress cover from dept store

giant overnight maxipads

placenta bowl (already owned)


sparkling wine (to celebrate after)

cheap red wine (to take the edge off the contractions)

had a homemade lasagna in the freezer that midwife and DH ate during and I ate after

thigh-length comfy nighty

hair brush (had DH brush my hair to relax)


borrowed double electric breast pump from midwife to induce labour

midwives are publicly funded here so her supplies were free


i was in no way hungry once active labour set in and also in no state of mind to think about what herbs or homeopathic i could use, or what comfort measures I wanted, so unless your midwife or a doula will be taking on that role you prob won't use them


honestly, though it's nice to have lots of options, the comforts you already enjoy are probably the same ones that will help in labour and the issues you have emotionally/ mentally will be the ones that inhibit you. for example with me, i have trouble letting go of control and was having a lot of anxiety in pregnancy, therefore a i had trouble getting into labour and had trouble breathing into the pain letting the baby down. so needed the breast pump and a cohosh tincture to get going and lots of hot water poured over my back reminders to breath. verbal/ emotional support is def the most important and practice ahead of time for breathing through contractions.

I say this from my personal birth and from being a student midwife. 


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