Preparing for a Home Birth
Being ready for a home birth requires some basic preparation.
FOOD – it is a very good idea about 2-4 weeks before your due date to prepare some extra dishes that keep well in the freezer and can easily be reheated. Put back some frozen or bottled juice for labor and postpartum time. Freeze some juice or red raspberry tea cubes for ice chips during labor. About 2 weeks before your due date buy a few extra things such as breakfast foods that are easily prepared for your first postpartum meal. Make sure you have food that is nourishing & easily digested to eat during labor. An oral electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte or a generic brand is helpful to have on hand to prevent dehydration. Lemon/lime soda is also good.
CLOTHING – Pick out a comfortable gown for labor as well as one or two that are easy to nurse in for you to wear after the birth. Choose clothing and blankets for baby. Set aside 4 older towels that are still absorbent to cover baby with immediately after birth. Towels work better than blankets for drying and warming baby.
SUPPLIES – You can purchase a birthing kit that contains the essential items such as bulb syringe, cord clamps, under-pads, thermometers, etc. Generally this kit cost about $40.00. See links page for ordering information.
In addition to this kit the following items are recommended.
- Olive oil – for perineal massage and for cleaning baby
- cotton balls – for applying olive oil to baby and for cleaning
- Q-tips – for cleaning baby’s cord
- Alcohol – for cleaning baby’s cord
- Disposable diapers – newborn size for both baby and mom
- Plastic sheet – for covering the bed
- Vinyl table cloth with felt back – for covering carpeted floor
- Plastic trash bags – for waste disposal
- Flash light with good batteries
BED – During the early phase of labor you can prepare your bed in the following manner make up the bed with one set of sheets (top & bottom), cover with plastic, tucking edges in well. Make bed up a second time with another set of sheets. A flannel blanket on top of the plastic will make the bed more comfortable. After birth remove the soiled top layer and your bed is ready made.
POSTPARTUM – It is best to think ahead about help for the first three weeks after birth. Help for mom is essential during those first three weeks and speeds recovery time. Older siblings (older than 8 ) are a great help, but adult help should include cooking, laundry, dish washing, sweeping or vacuuming, as well as caring for younger children. A well rested mother recovers much quicker with less long-term problems if she does nothing but care for herself and her new baby for the first 2-3 weeks and then gradually resumes her usual duties.
Here are a few suggested remedies to help with afterbirth pains:
- Non-Aspirin pain reliever (acetaminophen) (avoid ibuprofen postpartum)
- Calcium citrate (either liquid or tabs)
- St. John’s Wort capsules
- Arnica (homeopathic)