What Supplies You Need for an Unassisted Homebirth
When women plan their homebirth, they often end up getting a supply kit of some kind or another. When they don’t find a kit, they’ll usually use someone else’s recommendations of what will be needed at the birth. You can keep it simple, or you can make it really complicated when it comes to homebirth supplies. However, you should remember this:
Nothing is mandatory.
The only thing that is truly necessary for a successful homebirth is a woman in labor. Of course, your chances of a happy outcome are greatly increased when the mother is very healthy and has faith in her body and the birthing process. And while a little extra knowledge won’t hurt, it’s not technically needed.
That being said, it doesn’t hurt to have a few supplies on hand. You might want to have one or more of the following things on hand:
- plenty of towels
- an old blanket or tarp to cover up the floor
- old sheets
- sterilized scissors or knife
- suction bulb (just in case)
- clamp or sterilized shoe string (to tie off the cord)
- baby thermometer
- Peri bottle
- tape measure
- large trash bag
When you look at this list, it might seem huge. But technically, you probably already have most of these items anyway, especially extra sheets, scissors, and some shoe string. For the things you don’t have, you just need to think about their uses. For example, a Peri bottle is just a squirt bottle that will help relieve some pain while you’re on the toilet. And while you may not have an infant scale, there are other ways to weigh a baby. Plus, weighing your baby is certainly not the first priority during a homebirth, anyway.
One thing that doesn’t show up on my list are herbal remedies for possible problems. For example, many homebirth kits will include herbal remedies for postpartum hemorrhage. It’s totally up to you whether you want to have something like that available or not.
Freebirthers are no different from regular homebirthers when it comes to homebirth supplies. It may help you to have a supply list to make preparations. Technically, you don’t really need much of anything to give birth. After all, once your baby is born, all he or she needs from you is some skin to skin, colostrum, and lots of love.
Nevertheless, most people feel better prepared if they have a few basics on hand. If you’re aminimalist, then all you might want to prepare for your homebirth is a few extra towels. On the other end of the spectrum, some women feel more comfortable if they have everything on hand, including herbs to treat postpartum hemorrhage.
My homebirth list leans toward the basics. I did not include a list of herbs for two reasons: 1. I am not knowledgeable about herbs. 2. For a normal birth, you probably don’t need any. A lot of other items on my list are things you probably already have (such as the extra towels and a mirror).
My homebirth list also includes two things you might be better off skipping altogether: a baby hat and a suction bulb. You can find out here why suctioning your newborn is a bad idea.
For a printable version of my homebirth supply list, please go to the resources page.
Where Can You Find Homebirth Supplies?
If you’re planning on giving birth at home, whether you do that as part of an unassisted birth or with the help of a midwife, you’ll inevitably start thinking about finding the necessary homebirth supplies. Besides wondering about what supplies you actually need, you might be concerned with where to find those supplies. Obviously, it all depends on what supplies you want to have, and which ones you don’t need.
Find Out What You Need
You can purchase homebirth supplies as part of a birth kit. Many midwives may even sell these to you or refer you to a place that sells them. However, homebirth supply kits often include too many things that you don’t actually need, for example, surgical gloves. Of course, if a midwife is going to assist you at your birth, then you need to honor the list she gives you.
Otherwise, it might make more sense to figure out what you need and where to get each individual item. Your list of homebirth supplies may be very short and basic, but it may also be elaborate. Just as with purchasing things for your baby’s first life, you have the choice to purchase essentials only or everything that’s out there, including things that you may never end up using.
Cover the Essentials
By the way, if you want to make it really easy on yourself, all you really need is a few towels, something to cut the cord with (a pair of scissors or a knife), and something to tie the cord off with later (a shoelace). You probably already have all of these things at home. Before you go into labor, you may want to clean them, wash them, and / or sterilize them. Finally, you may want to find something to protect your flooring or bedding, for example, old comforters, blankets, and a tarp for underneath.
If you want to have more things on hand, such as a scale, umbilical cord scissors, a cord clamp, and other things like that, then you should start your search early. The good news is that you can buy almost anything online these days. In fact, all three of these things are sold by major retailers like Amazon. But if you also want to purchase herbs to take in case you hemorrhage, then you’ll need to do more research.
When it comes to homebirth supplies, you need to figure out what you want first. Then you can find a place to buy them from. But in case you don’t get everything in time, there is no reason to panic. After all, your baby doesn’t require anything fancy to be born.
Download a copy of a homebirth supply checklist here.