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Is Home Birth Messy? Not With These Tips!

Are you worried that choosing a home birth will mean a big mess? Fear no more. While home birth can be messy, it isn’t always, AND there are lots of things you can do to protect your belongings and keep things clean.

new baby with some blood and fluids on them

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Have you seen a movie where a woman goes into labor and then gives birth on her bed? Have you wondered if it’s really THAT messy?

Well, you’re not alone. Most people have probably wondered that at some point.

The way birth is portrayed in movies and TV shows is just one of the many things I wish I could change about birth culture. Then add to the media portrayals that hospital births can also be messy for various reasons (think a c-section, an episiotomy or severe tear, etc.), and women start think birth is always a messy ordeal.

But birth isn’t always messy. Home births can be quite clean, actually. 

In fact, I’ve heard a birth story where the total amount of blood was about a quarter size spot. That’s it.

What Home Birth Is Like

Part of the reason we worry about home birth being messy is that most of us don’t really know what home birth is like. Unless we choose to give birth at home and experience it ourselves, it often remains a mystery. 

But one of the cool things about home birth is that, if you’re prepared, it doesn’t feel like some wild thing. It’s almost just another day of normal life.

My point is don’t worry.

Your midwives have done this lots of times. They know how to help you keep your belongings clean and how to help your birth space stay pleasant and tidy.

Yes, there are fluids involved in birth – your amniotic fluid will come out at some point and there will likely be some blood. But it’s normal. 

Plus, there are a lot of things you can do to keep your floors and furniture clean. And that’s what I want to share with you today: 8 tips to help home birth be less messy.

Tips for Making Home Birth Less Messy

Most of these tips are about things you can buy or gather right now so you have them on hand for when labor begins. (If you want to know exactly what you need for a home birth, check out The Ultimate List of Home Birth Supplies.)

And these are all things I did in preparation for or during the birth of my daughter.

1 – Have a planned space for birth.

One way to keep birth from getting very messy is to have a designated area for it. A birth pool is a great option for this (mess-wise and for comfort’s sake). That’s what I chose. Then all the birth fluids just go right into the water and are emptied with the pool.

You may also choose to give birth on your bed.

Some women prefer to be in their bathroom, on tile floor with towels. 

Having a planned place for birth means you can set it up with plastic coverings and such (more on that later) during early labor so it’s ready for when things get more intense.

That way you or your midwives won’t be rushing to cover the floor wherever you are when the baby is coming.

2 – Have underwear and pads ready.

One thing that can get messy during birth is amniotic fluid. Sometimes when your water breaks (i.e. your amniotic sac breaks and the fluid comes out), it’s all at once in a big gush. In that case (which isn’t super common), you just hope you’re somewhere that’s easy to dry and clean up.

Often, it’s not a big gush but a continual trickle. If that’s what happens, you can simply wear a pad in your underwear to keep from dripping everywhere.

Pads will also be important after your baby is born, since you’ll bleed for a week or two after, like a heavy period. 

3 – Get lots of chucks pads.

Chucks pads are sheets of absorbent material backed with plastic. They’re like drop cloths that are soft on the top but waterproof on the bottom. They come in multiple sizes and are super useful to have during birth.

Most midwives will provide you with several chucks pads when they give you your birth kit. If they don’t – or if you want extra – you can buy your own on Amazon or at most supermarkets.

Put chucks pads on your bed, your floor, your couch. Put them anywhere you might sit or stand to keep amniotic fluid and blood from getting on your things.

4 – Use tarps or plastic for big areas.

In addition to chucks pads, I recommend you get some tarps or plastic shower curtains to cover big areas like your bed and floor.

The easiest way to protect your mattress is to put one fitted sheet on, lay a plastic shower curtain on that, and then put another fitted sheet (preferably an old one you don’t care about) on top of that.

Tarps are nice to have under the birth pool to keep any water from damaging your floors. 

You can even get some plastic drop cloths to put in areas you might be walking – like the floor from your bed to your toilet. This will make it feel less homey and comfortable, though, so it’s up to you to decide which is the priority for you.

5 – Gather lots of towels. 

Old towels are going to be your friends during birth. Along with chucks pads, towels can provide extra absorbency. They also provide a nice cushion if you’re kneeling or sitting on the floor.

If you want a few extra, you could buy some towels from a thrift store or buy a cheap pack for spares.

6 – Have a bucket ready to throw up in.

It’s not the most pleasant thing to talk about but you may vomit while in labor. This is one thing that’s easy to contain. Just keep a bowl or bucket handy so you can grab it at a moment’s notice.

7 – Get a bowl for the placenta.

After your baby is born, you’ll also need to push the placenta out. It doesn’t take a lot of extra effort but you will need a place to put it until you decide what to do with it. The easiest solution here is to have a bowl ready. 

You can either birth the placenta right into the bowl or have your midwife transfer it to the bowl once it is out.

8 – Get an extra set of sheets.

If you plan to give birth on your bed (or even if you don’t), get an extra set of sheets. Your midwife can switch them out for you after your baby is born so you know you’re snuggling into a clean bed to rest.

What Your Midwives Will Do About the Mess

Speaking of midwives, they aren’t just there to make sure everyone is safe. They also do a lot to make sure things stay nice and any mess gets cleaned up.

First of all, most home birth midwives will come to your house for a prenatal appointment around 36 weeks. This way they know how to get to your home and they know where things are in your house – like the trash cans, your washing machine, and pots for heating water if needed.

This is also when they’ll leave the birth kit and birth pool with you.

After your baby is born, while you are snuggling and bonding, your midwives really get to work. They’ll empty and pack up the birth pool, if you used one. They’ll replace any chucks pads that got dirty.

They’ll change the sheets on your bed, if needed, and take away any messy towels or sheets. Some midwives will even start a load of laundry for you.

And when they leave, they’ll take the trash with them, leaving you with a house that’s just as clean as when they arrived.

Conclusion: Don’t Fear the Mess

So is home birth messy? It can be. But it can also be pretty clean. Either way, you can use the 8 tips above to keep your belongings nice, and you can trust that your midwives will leave your house in ship shape when they leave. 

If a worry about the mess is keeping you from choosing a home birth, I encourage you to let that fear go. Making decisions out of fear is never a good idea. And now you know the truth, so there’s no need to fear.

If you’re still on the fence about a home birth, check out my FREE guide: Is a Home Birth Right For Me?

I want you to have a fantastic birth experience – at home if that’s what you choose. I know it’s possible; I’m living proof.

Until next time,

Allison

READ MORE:

The Real Pros and Cons of Home Birth

Are Home Births Safe?

How to Prepare for Postpartum: The Ultimate Guide

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