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Nine Months : Getting ready for a home birth

The following is a complete list of things you may need during labour or after birth at home. However, you may need to customise it according to your needs. For example, if you don't intend having a massage during labour, there is little point in arranging for a massage oil. The list given below may vary depending on the midwife's requirements. You may want to discuss it with your midwife. (Most midwives provide a list of their own.)

Important Points

* Although you may want to give birth in a particular room, it is best to be flexible and prepare a couple of rooms so that there are no last minute confusions.

* The room you choose to give birth in should be warm and have easy access to warm water.

* There should be a toilet close to the room and a telephone either in or quite close to the room

* The room that you choose should have plenty of space for the midwife to move around.

* Your house should be within easy access where an ambulance can reach you in case of an emergency.

* If you have other children, you may want to arrange for someone to come to your house and look after them so that you and your birth partner can concentrate on the delivery.

* After giving birth, you may be very hungry. Hence, it is a good idea to prepare some food beforehand and freeze it. This frozen food will also be handy in the first few days after delivery.

* To prepare the bed for delivery, place a clean undersheet first over the mattress and cover it with a plastic sheet. Place another clean undersheet over the plastic one. When this sheet gets dirty during birth, it can be removed along with the plastic sheet and you will have a freshly made bed under it.

General Needs

* A bed with a firm mattress.

* There should be two clean surfaces next to the bed - one for the midwife to keep her equipment and the other for the baby's examination after birth by the midwife.

* You need to have sufficient plastic sheets to protect the bed and the surrounding floor from the amniotic fluid and the blood from the delivery. Alternatively you can use old sheets and shower curtains.

* You must stock up your bin liners so that cleaning the mess after the delivery is easier.

* You must have plenty of cushions and pillows so that you are able to keep yourself comfortable during labour.

* A bean bag can be really useful.

* A low stool for squatting purposes.

* Soothing melodies to help you relax.

* A hard-backed chair to sit and lean over.

* Clean towels, sheets and blankets.

* Large plastic bowls.

* Soap

* A lamp or other source of bright light which will be needed by the midwife to examine you from time to time.

* Camera for pictures.

Your Things

* Stick-on maternity towels

* Disposable knickers

* Old T-shirt/nightdress for giving birth in

* Breast pads

* Nursing bras

* Front-opening nightdress for wearing after birth

* Slippers

* Flannels

* Clean towels

* Hot water bottle

* Accessories to help soothe and refresh you like massage oils, sponge, lip balm, water spray etc.

Baby Things

* Soft, clean towels and sheets.

* Stretchsuits

* Vests

* Nappies(either disposable or terry)

* Nappy cream

* Cotton wool

* Scratch mittens

* Baby blanket or shawl

* Moses basket, cot or crib

* Changing mat

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