Waterbirth provides a wonderful and gentle birth experience for both mother and baby. Often shorter labours with fewer complications are seen. This in turn leads to a better experience for dads. Mothers rate high satisfaction with waterbirth experiences, as do fathers and birth attendants.
Prepare Your Home Before 37 weeks:
- Midwife & doula contact info entered into cell-phones.
- A contact page on your fridge or pinned to a wall, easy to find, in case we have to call for fast help. (Trust me – brain-freeze is a thing!) Please print, fill out and post this Homebirth Contact Form, or add the extra info to the page your midwives provide and ask you to post.
- Other “Important Phone Numbers” list on your fridge.
- Some cleared surfaces for equipment set-up.
- Plan for birth-attendant parking.
- Outside lights working, house # visible at night (may require a temporary # to be put up).
- Clear a path to door and through halls in case we have to quickly run in equipment for set up or quickly depart.
- Child-care plan (unless they’re attending birth; MW & doulas can offer tips).
- Pet-care plan – pets with teeth / claws absolutely need to be locked up or sent elsewhere as even the most gentle animal can become over-protective and stressed while mama’s in labour.
- If you’d like candles then please use only beeswax or battery-candles. The rest are toxic and can give your support people headaches.
- Get your bed “birth-ready” – make bed in this order (from bare mattress): extra mattress pad, sheets for after the birth, then a plastic liner/sheet or water-proof mattress pad, a regular mattress pad if you’re using a plastic sheet (optional but nice, because plastic gets hot and sticky; an extra flannel sheet works too), “birth” sheets, blankets & pillow cases that can be used for birth. Have pillow cases and blankets for after the birth nearby. Note: if you don’t wish to sleep with plastic in the days/weeks before birth, please have all this ready near bed so someone can quickly make the bed during labour.
Note: Waterproof plastic liner/sheets can be a clear shower curtain liner or plastic drop-sheet (like a thin tarp). Mattress stores sell nice waterproof mattress pads that feel like normal bedding.
- If you’re planning a water birth then ensure hot water temperature is turned up
- Birth-Kit from MW (if she provides this; otherwise purchase and assemble yourself):
– Package of 10 or more large absorbent under-pads / “blue pads”
– Peri-bottle for postpartum perineal care (one per washroom)
– 4 -6 pair disposable mesh underwear
- If you have a guest-room, it’s nice to have it ready for birth-attendants, just in case.
- Extra bits if you’re planning a water birth:
Note: I am a water birth expert and can offer all kinds of guidance if there are issues with any of this, but we need to know ahead of time!
– Purchase / rent birth pool (unless your bath-tub is appropriate) and all related supplies.
– Determine where and when to set up the pool.
– Tarp to protect the floor. Padding under the tarp is nice.
– Hot water temperature is turned up.
– Ensure the hose for filling the birth pool fits one of your taps and reaches your pool. Seriously, you can not imagine how often this isn’t done and foils waterbirth plans! Do not just assume it all fits. If the hose won’t connect then you’ll need an adapter or extra pump; ask me.
Please prepare in plastic tubs or reserved laundry baskets; boxes work in a pinch.
1) Dryer Items
These items will be warmed in the dryer prior to birth. Place in a separate bag or container, stored near dryer or with Birth Container). Washed and ready for use; will get soiled or stained so consider Thrift Store purchases.
- 6 towels (make it 8-10 for waterbirth!)
- 6 receiving blankets
- 2 hats for baby
- 3 flannel sheets/blankets for mother (4 for for waterbirth)
2) Other Linen
This is in addition to the Dryer Items above. This linen is kept in a separate container please, near birth-spacee e.g. in bedroom, by birth-pool. Washed and ready for use; will get soiled or stained so consider Thrift Store purchases.
- Newborn outfit incl. diaper, undershirt, sleeper, socks, hat and blankets
- Nighty / PJs for mother
- Set of sheets to fit bed
- 1-2 flannel sheets/light blankets for waterbirth
- 6 old washcloths, old diapers, etc. for hot compresses
- 10 washcloths for mother comfort
- 6 towels; make it 12 minimum for waterbirth!
- 10 cloths/rags for clean-up after
3) Other Items
Keep this in a container close to or in birth-space.
Note: There may be some repeats from the Birth Bag Suggestions list, which you’re encouraged to check out for some great ideas of things you can use at home, hospital or birth centre.
- Large plastic sheet to protect bedding – e.g. drop sheet or plastic shower curtain liner (see above for how to prepare your bed for birth)
- 4 large, strong garbage bags (2 for garbage, plus replacements)
- Large laundry bin or an additional large strong garbage bag to collect soiled linens
- 1 large roll paper towel (please – no matter how much you love Mother Earth
- Plastic ice cream pail or other suitable container with lid for placenta
- Flashlight with new batteries
- Large pkg. maxi pads, extra long (the bigger, thicker the pad the better). Avoid pads with a “dry-weave” topping as they can be irritating to your perineum
- Small bottle of peroxide – best thing ever to clean blood from surfaces and fabrics
- Flexible straws
- Cookie sheet or other large firm portable surface
- Bottle of hydrogen peroxide (cleans blood stains)
- Digital thermometer
- Q-tips, in case of care of umbilical cord
- (optional) Small unopened bottle of food-grade oil e.g. coconut for crowning
- (optional) Large saucepan or Crockpot for heating compresses and oils
Your pool should have come with a supply list. Please ask if you need more info. If you’re lucky enough to have a big comfy built-in tub, the only extra thing you’ll need is a floating thermometer and a small fish-net or sieve.
Think about lots of healthy foods and drinks (Labour-Drinks) you and your family might enjoy during and after labour and birth, and stock up. HINT– birth attendants LOVE tea and snacks too! 😉
Make a few trays of ice-cubes (can keep cubes in a zip-lock).