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Everything You Need for a Home Birth Kit (According to a Midwife)

Are you wondering what’s included in a typical home birth kit? Are you preparing for an unassisted home birth? Look no further. This blog post will tell you everything you need to have in your birth kit, according to a midwife.

drawer of medical supplies

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When you give birth in the hospital, you don’t have to think about all the supplies and preparation that goes into getting things ready for the big day. But when you give birth at home, it’s a bit of different story.

Now it’s on you to think about what you need to keep things clean and safe, what you want to have on hand for your comfort, and what you might like to have access to to help with coping

Your Midwife May Provide a Home Birth Kit

Gratefully, many midwives provide a home birth kit as part of the fee you pay them. My midwife does a home visit for the 36-week appointment with her clients (in their home instead of hers) and brings the birth kit then to leave with her clients so that it’s ready for whenever labor begins.

That said, some midwives may not provide a home birth kit.

Some women may prefer to have their own set of things just to be safe. 

And some women prefer to give birth unassisted, without a midwife. Though I don’t recommend it, “freebirth,” as it is called, may be what some women choose.

Not to mention, giving birth unassisted at home may happen on accident if you live far outside of town or if your labor progresses unexpectedly fast.

All in all, what’s important is that you know what to have on hand for a home birth so that you can decide to what level you want to be prepared. 

Want a Checklist?

Get this home birth kit list as a PDF checklist!

What You Need for a Home Birth Kit

To make sure I was providing a good list to you, my readers, I went straight to the source and asked my midwife, Amy Ihrig, what she puts in her home birth kits. 

Amy attends home births in Utah. You can find her at joyfulbirthmidwife.com.

So here it is: what you need for your home birth kit, according to a midwife.

Note: This list is mostly logistical necessities that you wouldn’t already have in your home. If you’re looking for a list of more practical supplies, check out The Ultimate List of Home Birth Supplies.

Baby

The first few things you’ll need for your home birth kit are for your newborn as soon as he or she is born.

Bulb syringe: Most vaginal births effectively clear out a baby’s airways because of the natural “fetal heimlich maneuver” that happens when their head is squeezed through their mother’s vaginal opening. Occasionally, they’ll need a little help clearing out their nose and mouth, in which case it’s a good idea to have a syringe on hand.

Cord clamps: Your baby is connected to you by two miracles called the umbilical cord and the placenta. After you baby is born, the umbilical cord will empty of blood and will be clamped and cut. Cord clamps* look a little bit like alligator chip bag closers you’ve probably seen before.

After being clamped, the cord can be cut with sterile scissors or a sterile scalpel*.

Cord band and mini forceps: Alternatively to clamps, you could opt for a cord band. Rather than being a bulky piece of plastic, a cord band is a tiny elastic that tightly closes off the umbilical cord. It is placed on the cord using a pair of hemostatic forceps.

Receiving blanket: If you don’t already have a small, lightweight blanket or towel, you’ll want to have a receiving blanket ready for your new little one.

Scale and Sling: Most midwives use a hanging scale and a fabric sling to measure babies’ weights. They are more precise than the kind of scale you stand on, which is important with such a small person.

Sewing Tape Measure: You’ll want a flexible tape measure to measure your baby’s length (height), head circumference, and chest circumference.

Footprinter: It is routine practice to take a newborn’s footprints when they are born, mostly for identity purposes. (Footprinting is required in some states.) You’ll want to have a special no-mess ink pad to capture those cute little feet.

Healing

The next category of items for your home birth kit are things you’ll be glad to have as you heal in those first few weeks postpartum.

Jumbo maxi pads: Immediately after birth and for the next week or two, you’ll be bleeding like you’re in the middle of a heavy period. You’re going to want lots of pads, but for those first days you’ll want some extra big ones.

Mesh underwear: Mesh, rather than normal cotton or other materials, allows for more breathability. That’s why women are almost always given mesh underwear after birth. More airflow means faster healing and less chance of infection. You’ll probably want at least 2 pair.

Pads for freezing: Many women like to have “padsicles” after giving birth. Padsicles are just pads sprayed with perineal tea or an herbal mixture and then frozen. The cold can ease pain and decrease swelling and other discomforts (like healing from stitches).

Witch hazel pads: In addition to the other pads you’ll be wearing, you’ll want some witch hazel pads. They help cool sensitive areas and make things a little more comfortable as you heal.

Perineal spray: When it comes to postpartum healing, the more help you can give your body, the better. Herbal sprays can aid in the healing process and provide an extra bit of cooling for comfort.

Peri bottles: Perineal bottles (usually shortened to “peri bottles”) will be your way of cleaning up after going to the bathroom. You won’t want to wipe for a while, especially if you tore and are healing from stitches. So, instead, you spray yourself off. You can get a basic upright bottle* or an upside down squirt bottle, which some women prefer.

Cleaning and Protection

The longest section of the home birth kit list is the supplies you need for keeping things clean. This includes keeping blood and fluids off of your possessions, cleanup after the birth, and making sure germs aren’t getting where you don’t want them.

Keeping Things Clean

Plastic-backed pads: One of the keys to a clean birth area is chucks pads. These pads are absorbent and have a plastic layer on the back to prevent leaks. You can use chucks pads to cover your bed or whatever area you choose to give birth. You can also use them to cover your bed and chairs after birth while you’re still bleeding heavily.

Shoot for having about 30 of these on hand. (You may want to get some of each size: small, medium, and large.)

Plastic shower curtain: If you plan to give birth on your bed, your going to want a plastic layer to keep your mattress clean. The easiest way to do this is to buy a cheap plastic shower curtain then make your bed with two sheets and the curtain in the middle. (Put one fitted sheet on your mattress like normal. Place the shower curtain on top. Then cover that with another fitted sheet.)

Plastic drop cloth: Like the plastic shower curtain on your bed, you might want some big plastic drop cloths to protect your floors. Buy multiple if you have several carpeted areas you want to cover. (Or use large, clean tarps.)

Cleanup

Trash bags: To make clean up easier, throw a few trash bags in your birth kit. You might want one extra large one and a few kitchen-sized ones.

Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide can be used to sanitize. But it’s also like magic if you want to get blood out of fabric. Chances are you’ll get blood somewhere you don’t want it (bleeding is a perfectly normal part of birth) so having hydrogen peroxide on hand is a good idea.

Sanitization

Alcohol prep pads: You may or may not use alcohol prep pads during labor. They would be used to clean your skin if you need a numbing shot before getting stitches or to sanitize other things for safety reasons.

Gauze: Gauze may be used for cleaning, prepping your perineum for birth or for stitches, or for wiping your baby’s eyes after birth.

Sterile gloves: Gloves are going to be important for anyone helping with the birth who will be touching your perineum or your baby. Baby’s don’t have great immune systems. And you’ll want to avoid uterine infections.

Other

Finally, there are a few miscellaneous things you’ll want to include in your birth kit.

Gallon-size zipper bags: If you plan to keep your placenta for later use, make sure to have a gallon-size bag ready. You’ll probably want a bowl to place the placenta in immediately after birth, and then once you’re situated and the cord is cut, you can transfer it to the bag.

You can also use a zipper bag to store your padsicles in the freezer until you need them.

Suturing tools: If your midwife doesn’t provide a birth kit she may want you to have suturing tools* on hand. Some women tear a little at the vaginal opening while giving birth. If that happens, you may need to be stitched up. My midwife brought her own suturing tools, but make sure to ask your midwife about it.

Bin: Finally, you’ll want a bin to store it all in so everything is ready to go and easy to find when it’s needed.

*For products from Sunstone Formulas, use code “givelife10” for 10% off.

Ready, Set, Gather

Now you’re ready to assemble your own home birth kit. The fun part is gathering everything and putting it all together!

Once your birth kit is ready, you’ll also want to make sure you have all the household supplies you might need for your birth. And don’t forget the decorations and anything else you want to create your perfect birthing atmosphere.

If you’d rather buy a birthing kit (which may be cheaper) Sunstone Formulas has a simple one (use code givelife10 for 10% off!) or you can find lots on Amazon.

Happy gathering and even happier birth day!

Until next time,

Allison

READ MORE:

Home Birth Prep: 7 Steps to Make Sure You’re Ready

Are Home Births Safe?

How Much Does a Home Birth Cost?

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