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8 Home Birth Tips That Will Make Your Birth Even Better

With so many things to do to prepare for a home birth, sometimes a few things get left undone. These 8 home birth tips will help you feel better and more prepared leading up to the birth and ensure that labor is as distraction-free as possible.

pregnant woman with older kid and holding a phone

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Birth is one of those things you’ll never be totally prepared for. But it’s important that you still do everything you can to prepare.

That’s especially true for home births.

I’ve already written about 7 steps to make sure you’re ready for your home birth, all the supplies you need for a home birth, how to assemble your own home birth kit, and more. Today we’re going to cover a few more helpful home birth tips to make your baby’s birth day just a little easier.

8 Helpful Home Birth Tips

Because a home birth is in your home (obviously) there are a few extra things you’ll want to take care of before labor begins. You’ll want to do most of these things at least a few weeks prior to your estimated due date so everything is in place no matter when your baby decides to come.

Declutter Your Birth Space

Part of preparing your birth environment is setting up candles and other fun things. But before you add things to the area you want to give birth in, you’ll likely want to take a few things away.

Unmedicated labor requires all your focus. The fewer things there are that could pull your attention away from labor, the better.

Distracting things might include a messy desk space, a pile of laundry (clean or dirty), and unfinished projects sitting out.

Getting rid of these and other clutter and messes will help create a calm, relaxing environment. The right environment will allow you to spend all of your energy birthing rather than worrying about to-dos or feeling like you’re surrounded by chaos.

Set aside a few hours one Saturday to examine your birth space. Take note of anything that might be stressful or distracting. Get rid of things you don’t need or put them somewhere out of sight until your baby has arrived.

Stock Up On Snacks

A few weeks before my due date with my first baby, my husband and I went grocery shopping. We bought a whole bunch of snacks that would be easy to eat during labor or the few days after. 

We let ourselves buy things we don’t normally buy with the caveat that we wouldn’t open any of them until labor began.

Having easy snacks that we wanted to eat made it easier for both of us to keep our energy up during labor.

Sometime before your due date, I recommend you do the same. Buy snacks you have the highest chance of wanting to eat (that still have at least some nutritional value) and keep them somewhere you won’t be tempted to eat them. Then, when labor begins, you can pull them out.

Tell Your Kids About Birth

Whether you want your older kids present for your birth or not, it’s a good idea to let them know what’s going on beforehand. Of course you don’t have to go into detail. But tell them how you need to be able to relax and that you’ll need to take care of just yourself until their little brother or sister is born. 

If your kids will be present for the birth, help them know what to expect. You might want to tell them that you might make noises or that you won’t wear a lot of clothes because the baby has to be able to come out.

Depending on your kids age, you might want to explain that they might see some blood or that you might be in some pain.

You know your kids best so you decide how much or how little to tell them. But kids – even young ones – do better when they know what to expect and have things explained to them beforehand.

Find Child (and Pet) Care

If you don’t want your kids with you during labor and birth, plan in advance for someone to come pick them up when labor begins. Because this person will essentially have to be on call for a few weeks, it’s probably best if it’s a close family member or friend.

You don’t have to pay them, but make sure to communicate clearly what your expectations – and theirs – are.

If your first choice of caretaker has a vacation or other commitment near your due date, you may want to ask a second person to be ready if needed.

In addition to finding a place for your kids to be during your birth, you’ll want to find someone to take your pets. Animals, like kids, have needs, and can be a complicated distraction during labor.

Test Out Your Birth Pool

If you plan to use a birth pool during labor or you want to have a water birth, do a test run with your pool. You don’t have to fill it up completely, but at least inflate it and see how it feels to be inside it. 

Make sure it fits in the area you want to put it for the big day, with enough room for support people and midwives to walk around it. 

Also check to make sure your hose for filling and emptying the pool is long enough. 

Depending on how close you are to your due date and how much extra space you have in your home, you may want to leave the pool partially inflated so it doesn’t take as long to fill during labor. 

Turn Up Your Water Heater

This is one of the tips I wish I’d gotten before my home water birth.

If you want to do a water birth, you’re going to want nice warm water. Birth pools take around 150 gallons of water so chances are you’re going to run out of hot water before it’s full. One way to remedy this from the start is to turn up your water heater.

If you turn up the heater and run only the hot water as you fill your pool, you should end up with just about the right temperature. Some birth centers keep their pools at 99 degrees, so it’s okay if it feels like a hot tub.

If you are in the pool for a long time, you can heat water on the stove then pour it in the pool to maintain a good temperature. A few pots of hot water should be enough to keep things just right.

We filled my birth pool early on in labor so by the time I got in the water it was already cooling down. And we never added more water so by the time I gave birth, the water was far from hot, which meant it probably didn’t help as much with pain relief as it could have.

Long story short, use hot water to start with by turning up your water heater, and keep it warm with pots of water throughout labor. You’ll be glad you did.

Discuss Boundaries with Family and Friends

One of the challenges with giving birth at home is that people know your address and could, theoretically, just show up unannounced. To avoid such a surprise, make sure to clearly discuss boundaries with family and friends before labor begins.

Let people know if or when they are welcome. Be kind but clear.

You may want to ask people not to come over unless it’s planned in the weeks surrounding your due date. Also make sure people (especially family members) know when you intend to welcome visitors after the baby is born.

Set Expectations About Updates

In addition to setting boundaries, let people know what they can expect when it comes to labor and birth updates. If it bothers you, ask people not to text you with questions about if the baby is here yet. 

Let them know what your plan is for sending updates. Will you let people know when labor begins? Send updates as labor progresses? Or just send an announcement once baby has arrived?

It’s important that you stay calm and that you’re not stressed in the weeks leading up to labor. If people keep asking, it’s okay to ask them not to. This is your mental health. It’s important. And it will affect your birth.

In Summary

Giving birth at home can be an incredible experience. That experience is enhanced when you are prepared and when those around you understand your wishes surrounding your birth.

Among your other preparations for your home birth, consider the tips we talked about in this blog post:

  • Declutter your birth space,
  • Stock up on snacks, 
  • Tell your kids about birth,
  • Find child and pet care,
  • Test out your birth pool,
  • Turn up your water heater,
  • Discuss boundaries with family and friends, and
  • Set expectations about updates.

And through it all, remember to enjoy it. Be excited. Birth is a miracle. Let it feel like one.

Until next time,

Allison

READ MORE:

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

Are Home Births Safe?

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