What do I need to have on hand for an unassisted birth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 01-14-2012, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I'm new to this community and I am visualizing an unattended birth for my son at the end of February.  My due date is fast approaching.  I have been receiving prenatal care at a birthing center 75 minutes away but I honestly feel like I would be more comfortable giving birth at home.  I can't afford the high cost of a midwife to attend the birth so I would like to do everything myself with my husband.  I just can't see myself being in labor and rushing to the birthing center. 


I was wondering what supplies I should have on hand if I'm going to do this, and what should I expect?

Mama to two beautiful children

Boy, born 2/24/12
Girl, born 8/17/14

My blog:
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#2 of 8 Old 01-16-2012, 05:16 PM
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I'm very minimalist in my supplies list. Blankets & towels, chux pads if you'd rather use them, bowl for the placenta. Scissors you can sterilize. Something to tie off the cord. Something for bleeding if you have more than you're comfortable with. Shepherd's Purse works well. Whatever you like to have for post-partum pads/depends, witch hazel, stuff for the baby.


Read UC birth stories and website, that will help you learn more about what to expect

mom to all boys B: 08/01ribboncesarean.gif,  C: 07/05 uc.jpg, N: 03/09 uc.jpg, M: 01/12 uc.jpg and far too many lost onesintactlact.gifsaynovax.gif

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#3 of 8 Old 01-17-2012, 12:33 PM
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Hi Othersoul

Isn't amazing how much us moms take on.....? I am planning my second UC but forth baby for the end of March. Like the pp said I also just have min supplies. Pads, cord supplies like cutting tool and for tie off. I loved using embroidery floss and berated a few together looked nice and colorful. ;0) almond oil for the baby's butt which helps remove the first poops. Knit hats to keep the baby warm. I also do 4-5 herbal baths the first week with baby. It heals my bottom and baby's cord. The longest stump my babies had was 6 days.

As far as what to except. Hmmmm. That is a loaded question as everyone is so different. I love being pregnant and enjoy the work of labor to meet my baby. Three of my births were nice and steady 12 hrs. One labor was three hrs start to finish. I love the peace about being at home and having a few helpers to just me and hubby.

Find out what feels good to you and watch many unassisted births on you tube to build your confidence. My hubby doesn't enjoy the birthing process so this time I am taking full charge and hoping for a middle of the night birth when all is quiet.

Your date is coming can't wait for an update. Please respond. ;0)
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#4 of 8 Old 01-19-2012, 12:13 AM
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What you need is totally dependent on you and what you are comfortable with and what you think you will use.

During labor, you might choose to have these items:

- Fetoscope, for monitoring baby's heart tones

- Blood pressure cuff, for monitoring your blood pressure

- Oxygen tank to administer oxygen to yourself

- TENS machine, for pain relief

- Birth pool (plus air pump to inflate and siphon to fill and empty)

- Birth ball (plus air pump to inflate)

- Birth stool or other birth aids - you might consider rigging up something to hang onto, but you will probably find any of these items pretty useless considering most furniture and toilets work just as well.

- Olive oil, for perineal massage

- A cold or hot wash cloth to put on your forehead

- Container to dump warm water over your back or belly (if in the bathtub or birth pool)

- A bottle or glass of water or any other liquid you desire, with a bendy straw

- Any food you desire

- Container if you need to vomit

- Any clothes you want to wear

- Something to put under you (if you're naked) such as a towel, if your membranes have ruptured and are leaking or gushing fluid

- Things that create ambience, such as lit candles or music - some women prefer to put headphones on during labor

- Camera to take video/pictures

- Paper and pen to write down anything of interest

- A good support partner


During birth, you might choose to have these items:

- A pot of hot water with two wash cloths, for perineal support

- Disposable chux pads, for catching fluids

- A fishnet, to catch debris, in the case of a water birth

- Vinyl table cloth or shower curtain to spread around the area you plan to birth

- Waterproof sheet to put over the mattress on your bed

- Towels, which are multipurpose

- A sharp, sterile scissors or knife, if you for some reason need to make the opening of the birth canal larger to remedy a problem (this is rare, I'm just adding this to complete the list)

- Camera to take video/pictures

- Paper and pen to write down time of birth

- A good support partner


After birth, you might choose to have these items:

- Oxygen tank, to administer oxygen to baby

- A bulb syringe, if you feel gentle suctioning of the baby is necessary

- Cord clamps, shoelaces, dental ribbon, etc. to tie off the cord

- Sharp, sterile scissors to cut the cord

- Goldenseal powder, to put on the umbilical stump

- A bowl or other container to catch the placenta in

- Placenta Out, a mixture of herbs that will help expel the placenta and help with bleeding

- Shepherd's purse, cayenne tincture, or any other herbs you prefer to help with post partum bleeding.  Alternatively, you can take a piece of placenta in the mouth or swallow it.  Massaging the uterus and nursing baby helps too.

- Superglue, for repairing perineal tears

- Blankets for baby and yourself

- Any clothes you want to wear

- Newborn hat(s)

- Baby clothes

- Diaper(s)/wipes

- A scale to weigh baby (I used a kitchen scale, but you can also use a fish scale or order a baby scale online)

- A tape measure to measure baby

- Chux pads for you to sit on

- Depends or large pads

- Camera to take video/pictures

- Paper and pen to write down baby's size and anything of interest

- Someone or several people to take care of you



These are the things I chose to have at my first birth:

- Birth pool, which I did not use

- Bottles of water to sip between contractions

- A towel to put under me as I leaked and gushed amniotic fluid

- My ambience was having silence and turning up the heat a little

- My partner, who kept unwanted visitors from entering the house and caught both babies

- Vinyl table cloth that was put under me during birth

- Waterproof sheet, which I did not need

- Towels, which I birthed on and used to drape over me and babies

- Cord clamps

- Scissors

- Placenta bowl

- Placenta Out, which I did not use

- Blankets to wrap babies in

- A zip up sweatshirt to pull over myself

- Newborn hats

- Cloth diapers

- Sleepers for babies

- Kitchen scale

- Tape measure

- Pads to sit on (I actually used puppy pads)

- Large pads

- Friends, to help clean up after the birth and take care of me and the babies


Things I wish I would have had, and/or plan to have at my upcoming birth:

- Container in case I need to vomit

- Camera

- Pen and paper

- Friends, this time to watch my older children mostly

- Chux pads (instead of towels, lol)

- Good feminine pads

- Cayenne tincture (maybe)



Hope the list helps you decide what you need and don't need.



What to expect?  Visualize how you want your birth to go - and expect that.  Then be prepared for all of the unexpecteds.  If you expect your birth to go wrong, it just might.  Don't feel bad about being worried about everything, that will help you prepare.  But expect a lovely birth and strive for it. :)

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#5 of 8 Old 01-19-2012, 08:49 PM
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I am also incredibly minimalist in what I have. Totally depends on what you want for yourself.


I have:


1 large plastic bowl with sealing lid (keep all supplies in it then use it for placenta)

1 fetoscope

2 pair forceps (emergency use only)

1 pair heavy duty scissors (we use the kitchen scissors sterilized in the dishwasher)

something to tie the cord with (I use yarn, new shoelace, etc.)

fish scale with baby sling

several towels (I used 3 last time, 2 to give birth on, one to wrap baby, but 5 or 6 is better)

shower curtain (if you have carpet)

flexible tape measure (like used for sewing) to measure baby

bucket to throw up in (I use the diaper pail and hubs just rinses it out in the shower)

herbs for hemorrhage and retained placenta: shepherd's purse and angelica/raspberry (emergency use only)


Maybe a candle this time would be nice. I find music incredibly distracting in birth and that's dangerous to the laboring woman, so don't use it if you pay attention to it. No pool or pain relief for me.

Mama to a bright 7 y/o girl and an exuberant 3 y/o boy  Loving unschooling, 2x and natural living in Hawaii.
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#6 of 8 Old 01-29-2012, 10:07 AM
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Lovely!  I too am secretly planning a UC.  Glad to have found like-minded people here, as my in-laws are CERTAINLY NOT like-minded.  I have had 3 vaginal births (2 hospital, one home midwife), then a c-section for surrogate twins, now pregnant with my 4th baby for delivery after July 4th.  Finding a doc who would do a vbac in this area was nearly impossible.  I found one 45 minutes away and am seeing him to keep the in-laws pacified.  They live nearby so I have to keep up this pretense in order to keep peace.  The doc agrees I'm a prime candidate for vbac, so, I could go to the hospital for the birth but really I plan to stay home and birth quietly in the comfort of my own space.  :-) 


I believe in minimalism and that will surely translate to my supplies on hand.  I honestly don't see the need to use sterile anything for the birth. Clean, obviously.  But sterile?  If we wait until the cord is no longer pulsing, then why need sterile scissors to cut it?  Why sterile cord clamp?  Surely a little bit of common household bacteria won't cause an infection on an umbilical which is drying and falling off within days.  Animals use their teeth to chew the cord off (no clamping).


My list: (tentative)

Bowl for placenta (love the idea of keeping supplies in the bowl w/lid)

Towel or blanket to birth on (or maybe clean straw behind the barn if I'm feeling outdoorsy!)

Scissors or knife

Yarn for tying off? I have lots.

Receiving blanket


And that's about it!  I plan to use a lot of Elimination Communication combined with cloth diapering.  I used EC with my 3rd daughter and it was a HUGE eye opener.  Babies DO know when they're going to "go" and you can anticipate and facilitate their need.  Really increased my sense of deep bonding with her, knowing her on a deeper level than most moms know their babes.

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#7 of 8 Old 01-31-2012, 12:05 PM
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I just had my 2nd UC 2 weeks ago and both times this is what was needed:

- towels

- plastic sheet

- alcohol, scissors, hemp twine for the umbilical cord

- a pocket mirror

- a glass bowl for the placenta

- a receiving blanket


That is about it. :)

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#8 of 8 Old 02-04-2012, 01:33 PM
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My DD was UC two years ago... I really underestimated the amount of towels..... (next time, if I knew where I would give birth, I would line the floor with newspapers for easy cleanup. It was a bigger mess than I anticipated, haha maybe I just had more explosive fluids than most, I don't know, or maybe my crazy labor mind exaggerated it, but I could've used more towels...)


I threw up a lot when my labor was starting, crushed ice really helped and honey afterwards, for energy. I did not feel like eating at all. I guess a good range of snacks/liquids since you don't know what you will want in the moment. And food for after, I was starving after she was out!


I had a few tinctures on hand and only used the shepard's purse afterwards. I think I had bought the Shepard's Purse, Labor Ease, and Angelica?

For cord, I had someone sterilize scissors with flame then tied it with braided embroidery thread sterilized with alcohol. 

I used geriatric diapers for the first day after... then pads. I got a few of those pads that turn cold, they were great while they lasted, but didn't seem very absorbent, and didn't last long.


The days after I did use comfrey infusion in a peri bottle for a small labial tear I had. Helped a lot. 


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