Preparing For Home Birth: What do you need to do?
Planning a home birth means accepting responsibility for your birth environment. Prepare your home around 36 weeks of pregnancy with these simple steps:
Make sure your house is kept tidy with bathrooms cleaned at least once per week. Baking soda and vinegar are enough. Be conscious of cleaning fumes as those chemicals go through your respiratory tract and to your baby. Consider a bleach pod for your toilet as many choose to push in this private, comfortable space and it needs to be as clean as possible.
Air quality: change you air filters and consider a high quality HEPPA filter. An additional air filter such as Molekule or Austin Air from Eco-Wise is a great addition when possible.
Lighting: be sure you have low or mood lighting ready to go for your labor. Have a portable light source available for your midwife if your overhead light is dim.
Music: a play list of your choosing ready to support you and your partner through labor.
Tub: Midwifery of Austin has a birth tub for rent when available with instructions for additional needed supplies. If you’re birthing in your own tub with jets, have a trusted companion scrub your tub and run bleach water through the jests per manufacturer specifications. Please do not use bleach while pregnant.
The birth kit. Your midwife will offer a link to her preferred supplier with items needed for your birth. While the midwife brings medications and specific items to facilitate a safe home birth, midwives are unable to keep a stock room filled with all possible needed items like a hospital does. Your birth kit will have little items in it like: water proof pads, maternity maxi pads, extra gloves, etc.
Your bed: Have a waterproof mattress protector and a stack of 2-3 fitted sheets clean and ready to go in your bedroom. In early labor you or your partner will layer the bed with these items to keep your mattress in excellent condition.
Towels: have 5 clean towels and 5-10 washcloths folded and ready in your bedroom. The towels will be used to dry and warm your baby after the birth so be sure they’re soft and clean. Use a vinegar rinse instead of fabric softener to remove all residual soap chemicals.
Receiving blankets: have 3 flannel baby blankets clean and folded next to the towels. These are used to keep your baby warm after the birth.
Even if you have a birth tub set up in a room other than your bedroom, be sure to have labor lighting set up in the bedroom as well. Many women like to labor in or around their bed as it is a safe and private space.
One large pot with a lid used to boil a healing herbal blend for soothing post-partum packs made by your midwife.
Food to stock: in labor you’ll want to keep it light, but nutritionally dense. Your favorite energy bar, fruits, easy to carry snacks are useful to keep on hand for labor. Stock coconut water or your preferred electrolyte drink ready to keep you hydrated during labor.
If you have pets, identify people who can pop in and walk them or remove them from the home during your birth. Animals, even the most trained, can be unpredictable during birth as they’re bond to their family runs deep.
Other children: while many children are great support to their parents during home birth, some can begin to feel distressed or anxious. Identify a nurturing person who can stop by and pick them up or care for them in another part of the house so that you don’t have to worry and can focus on your birth.
The sacred birth space: plan ahead and create a safe emotional space for your birth. Some tips to help identify who should receive an invitation to your birth:
Do you want them there? Does your partner?
Are they able to focus on you and your partner’s needs over their own?
Are you comfortable being naked in from of them?
Do they fully support your plan to birth at home?
In case of hospital transport:
A spare house key by the front door labeled “spare”.
Install your car seat and have it inspected for free by EMS.
In your purse keep your ID, health insurance card, and extra phone charger. Keep it in its usual place for your partner to easily find.
In your bag of choice keep a night gown or loose dress, slip on shoes, one newborn outfit, a warm sweater for your partner, any toiletries you must have each day.
While transfer to the hospital during labor is rare, being prepared makes the transition less stressful and as positive as possible for you and your family.