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008. The Ultimate Home Birth Checklist: Everything You Need for a Positive Birth

Dreaming of a beautiful home birth experience, but feeling a little lost when it comes to planning? You're not alone!


Preparing to bring new life into the world is both exciting and a touch overwhelming. You want to feel confident and prepared for your home birth, but where do you even begin?


What if creating a plan for your home birth wasn't a time-consuming headache? What if you had a comprehensive checklist that covered everything you need for a positive and empowering birth experience?


I don’t want planning for your home birth to be overwhelming. I want you to feel empowered and ready for this transformative experience – without the stress. Which is why I'm breaking down The Ultimate Home Birth Checklist: Everything You Need for a Positive Birth in one convenient guide!


Title banner for the blog. The background has a coffee mug and a cute notebook with a pen and eyeglasses on top.  The title is written overtop and says "The Ultimate Home Birth Checklist: Everything you need for a positive birth.  Jessica Smith, Wildpreciousbirth.com


Step 1: Creating Your Ideal Birth Environment


This section of your home birth checklist helps you transform your space into the perfect "mama bear den" for birth. Here's your guide to creating a place that fosters relaxation, focus, and a sense of security so you can focus on more important things. 😉


A window with twinkle lights over the curtain

✅ Setting the Stage:

  • Location: Choose a comfortable, quiet room in your home where you feel safe and relaxed. Consider factors like privacy, adequate space for movement, and easy access to a bathroom and sink.

  • Ambiance: Lighting is key. Opt for dimmable lights or lamps that create a soft, warm glow. Flameless candles, string lights, or fairy lights can add a magical touch. Sound is also important. Create a calming soundscape with soothing music, nature sounds, or white noise to mask any outside distractions.

  • Temperature: Ensure the room temperature is comfortable for you, ideally around 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit. Fans or a strategically placed air purifier can help adjust the temperature and airflow.


✅ Creating a Sense of Calm:

  • Comfort Essentials: Stock the space with plenty of soft pillows and blankets for optimal comfort during labor positions and relaxation. Consider a birthing ball, yoga mat, and supportive cushions to enhance comfort and movement.

  • Visual Reminders: Surround yourself with positive affirmations, birth visualization boards, or inspirational quotes that will uplift and motivate you during labor. I loved hanging up beautiful birth affirmation cards and Bible verses around my room.

  • Aromatherapy: Essential oils can be a wonderful tool for creating a calming atmosphere and promoting relaxation. Consider using a diffuser with calming scents like lavender, chamomile, or clary sage. (Important Note: Always consult with your midwife before using essential oils during pregnancy.)


✅ Ensuring Easy Access:

  • Birthing Supplies: Have your birthing supplies readily accessible and neatly organized. This could include a designated basket or tub for sterile gloves, umbilical cord clamp, perineal spray, and other essential birthing supplies as outlined in your midwife's recommendations.

  • Hydration Station: Staying hydrated during labor is crucial. Set up a hydration station within easy reach, with a pitcher of water, your favorite beverages, and reusable straws.

  • Snacks and Comfort Foods: Pack healthy snacks and easily digestible foods that you can readily access during labor. Think granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, and quick protein like hard-boiled eggs or peanut butter. (More on this in Step 3)

Remember:

  • Your comfort is key. Personalize your birth space to reflect your preferences and create an environment that makes you feel safe, supported, and empowered.

  • Work with your midwife to ensure your chosen location and setup are suitable for your home birth.


Step 2: Your Essential Home Birth Supplies Checklist


Some folded newborn baby clothes

This section of your home birth checklist includes the essential items to have on hand for a positive birth experience.


Remember, your midwife will likely provide a specific list of medical supplies for her use during the birth. However, this checklist outlines the general categories to help you gather other items you and your baby will need:

✅ Pain Management Aids:

  • Warm compresses (a heating pad or warm water bottle)

  • Cold compresses (ice packs or frozen peas)

  • Birth ball (for various birthing positions and comfort)

  • Massage oils (consult your midwife for approved options)

  • Essential oils diffuser (with calming scents like lavender or chamomile - consult midwife first!)

  • Relaxation music (playlists or apps)


✅ Postpartum Care Items:

  • Peri bottle (for cleansing after birth)

  • Postpartum pads and/or adult diapers (heavy absorbency)

  • Witch hazel spray (for pain relief and perineal healing)

  • Hemorrhoid cream (to soothe discomfort)

  • Sitz bath supplies (basin for soaking in warm water)

  • Nursing bras and pads (if breastfeeding)

  • Nipple cream (to prevent and soothe cracked nipples)

  • Comfortable postpartum clothing (loose-fitting and breathable)


✅ Supplies for Baby:

  • Newborn diapers (cloth or disposable)

  • Wet wipes (also can be cloth or disposable)

  • Newborn outfits (several sets in different sizes)

  • Receiving blankets (warm and soft for swaddling)


✅ Additional Considerations:

  • Snacks and Drinks for Partner: We talked about snacks and drinks for mom in labor, but let's not forget dad too!

  • Just in case: Have a "go bag", your birth plan, insurance information, and any other relevant paperwork readily available in case a transfer to the hospital becomes necessary. It sucks to think about this possibility, but if a need does arise, you'll be glad you had some things packed.

  • Camera or Phone: Capture precious moments of your childbirth experience.


Step 3: Fueling Your Incredible Journey: Nutrition and Hydration Tips for a Home Birth


This section of your home birth checklist, your personalized "energy blueprint," outlines essential tips for staying hydrated and fueled throughout your incredible journey. Here are some tips and ideas for healthy snacks, easy-to-digest meals, and essential electrolytes to maintain stamina for both mother and baby.


Some snacks laid out as examples of what to gather for your home birth: perfect bars, blueberries, cheese, olives, and pepperonis

✅Hydration is Key:

  • Just keep sipping: Throughout labor, aim to sip water or clear broths regularly. Keep a reusable water bottle or straw within easy reach to avoid dehydration, which can lead to fatigue.

  • Electrolyte Boost: Consider incorporating electrolyte-rich drinks or coconut water to replenish essential minerals lost through sweat.

  • Fruity Refreshment: Frozen fruit popsicles can be a delicious and hydrating way to stay cool and energized.


✅ Snack Smart for Sustained Energy:

  • Easy-to-Digest Carbohydrates: Pack readily available snacks packed with complex carbohydrates for sustained energy. Think granola bars, dried fruit (mango, dates, apricots), crackers with cheese, or nut butter on bread.

  • Protein Power: Include protein-rich options like yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, or small portions of lean protein for lasting energy.

  • Light and Energizing Meals: If your labor falls during mealtime, opt for easily digestible meals like vegetable soup, a lean protein salad, or whole-wheat pasta with marinara sauce.


Remember:

  • Staying hydrated and fueled is crucial for a positive birth experience.

  • Choose healthy snacks and easily digestible meals that will provide sustained energy for both you and your baby.

  • Preparation is key! Have readily available snacks and drinks within easy reach to avoid dips in energy levels.

  • Your body will give you cues – listen to your hunger and thirst signals and adjust your food and water intake accordingly.


By prioritizing good nutrition and hydration, you're giving your body the fuel it needs to power through labor and welcome your little miracle with confidence.


Step 4: Assemble Your Dream Team: Roles and Responsibilities on Your Home Birth Checklist


A supportive and collaborative team is a cornerstone of a positive home birth experience. This section of your home birth checklist delves into the roles of different team members, explaining the roles of midwives, doulas, and support people (partners, family).


A midwife supporting a laboring woman in a birth tub

✅ Meet Your Dream Team:

  • Midwife: If you choose to have a healthcare provider during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, this will likely be your midwife. They possess the medical expertise to monitor your health, oversee the birth, and provide guidance throughout the process.

  • Doula: A doula is a trained birth companion who provides emotional and physical support during labor and delivery. They offer non-medical support, such as knowledge and information, comfort measures, and emotional encouragement and reassurance.

  • Support People: This can include your partner, family members, or close friends you trust. Their role is to offer emotional support, practical assistance (fetching supplies, running errands), and create a calming environment.



✅ Finding the Perfect Fit:

  • Qualifications and Experience: When choosing a midwife, consider their qualifications, experience, and philosophy of care. Interview potential midwives to assess their communication style and ensure a good fit.

  • Complementary Skills and Personalities: Seek a doula whose skills and personality complement your midwife's approach. Consider their experience, communication style, and specific areas of expertise.

  • Trust and Open Communication: Choose support people who you trust implicitly and feel comfortable communicating openly with. Look for individuals who respect your birth plan and can provide unwavering emotional support.


✅ The Power of Communication:

  • Clear Communication with Midwife: Clearly communicate your birth plan and preferences with your midwife well in advance. Discuss any concerns or questions openly to ensure a collaborative approach.

  • Open Communication with Doula: Discuss your expectations for your doula's role and ensure their approach aligns with your birth plan.

  • Pre-Birth Team Meeting: Consider holding a pre-birth team meeting with your midwife, doula, and support people to discuss roles, expectations, and communication protocols. This could be as simple as inviting your doula to attend your 36-week prenatal meeting with your midwife.


Remember:

  • A supportive and collaborative team is essential for a positive home birth experience.

  • Take time to find team members whose qualifications, experience, and personalities complement each other.

  • Open communication with each member of your birth team is crucial for creating a safe and empowering birthing environment.


By assembling your dream team and fostering clear communication, you can approach your home birth with a sense of confidence and support, ready to welcome your little one into the world surrounded by love and care.


Step 5: Beyond the Birth: Essential Postpartum Planning for Home Birth Moms


A newly postpartum mom lying in bed with her newborn.

Just like a well-planned home birth checklist paves the way for a smooth delivery, postpartum care shouldn't be an afterthought. This section of your home birth checklist addresses the often neglected aspect of postpartum recovery at home. Think of it as your "postpartum comfort guide" within your home birth checklist, equipping you with essential supplies and strategies to navigate those precious yet demanding first weeks with your newborn.


✅ Postpartum Essentials:

  • Soothing Support: Stock up on heating pads and pain-relieving sprays (approved for breastfeeding moms) to address postpartum discomfort, especially after delivery and during breastfeeding.

  • Peri Bottle Comfort: A peri bottle filled with warm water will be your best friend for postpartum cleansing.

  • Nursing Support: Consider investing in a comfortable nursing pillow to promote proper positioning and alleviate strain on your arms and shoulders.

  • Disposable Underwear: High-waisted disposable postpartum underwear offers comfort and support during recovery.

  • Comfortable Clothing: Loose-fitting, breathable clothing like pajamas, nightgowns, and nursing bras will be your go-to postpartum attire.

  • Postpartum Pads: Heavy absorbency postpartum pads are essential for managing lochia (postpartum bleeding).

  • Sitz Bath Supplies: A sitz bath filled with warm water and soothing herbs like calendula can provide relief from perineal discomfort.


✅ Prioritizing Rest and Recovery:

  • Delegate Like a Pro: Don't be afraid to delegate tasks! Ask your partner, family, or friends for help with household chores, errands, and meal preparation.

  • Embrace the Power of Rest: Prioritize rest and sleep whenever possible. This is especially crucial during the first few weeks postpartum as your body recovers from birth.

  • Nourish Your Body: Focus on healthy and nourishing meals to support your healing body. Consider stocking up on easy-to-prepare foods or exploring meal delivery services.

  • Hydration Hero: Continue to stay well-hydrated by keeping a reusable water bottle within easy reach.

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body's cues. Don't hesitate to ask for help if you're feeling overwhelmed or experience any concerning symptoms.


Remember:

  • Postpartum recovery is just as important as preparing for birth.

  • Gather essential supplies that will promote your comfort and well-being in the days and weeks following delivery.

  • Delegate tasks and prioritize rest to allow your body to heal and adjust to motherhood.


By planning for postpartum comfort and prioritizing self-care, you can create a supportive environment for yourself and your newborn, embracing this special time of bonding and emotional adjustment.


Step 6: The Power of Knowledge: Essential Resources and Birth Education for Home Birth Mamas


Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to birth. This section of your home birth checklist provides valuable resources to equip you with the information you need to make informed decisions and feel prepared for your incredible journey.


A teacher holding a pelvis for her childbirth education class

✅ Empowering Online Classes:

  • Consider childbirth education classes specifically focused on home birth. These classes can offer comprehensive information on the stages of labor, pain management techniques, and navigating a home birth experience. If you're local, this is my absolute favorite childbirth educator, I've used her myself and my husband and I recommend her to all our pregnant friends!

  • Alternatively, look for classes taught by experienced midwives or childbirth educators who advocate for home birth.


✅Recommended Books:

  • "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin: A classic text offering a compassionate and empowering perspective on natural childbirth, including home birth.

  • "The Birth Partner" by Penny Simkin & Sheryl Kitzmiller: A valuable resource for birth partners, providing guidance on supporting mothers during labor and delivery.

  • Explore other books on home birth, natural childbirth, and postpartum care based on your interests.


✅ Reliable Websites and Organizations:

  • Mama Natural - Offers a wealth of information on natural pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.

  • Evidence-Based Birth - Putting current evidence-based information into the hands of communities, so they can make empowered choices.


Remember:

  • Knowledge is power. Educate yourself about home birth, childbirth options, and postpartum care to feel confident and empowered for your birth experience.

  • Utilize the resources provided as a starting point and explore additional materials that resonate with you.

  • Don't hesitate to reach out to your midwife or healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have.


By arming yourself with knowledge and valuable resources, you can approach your home birth feeling empowered, informed, and excited to welcome your little miracle into the world.


A pregnant couple looking at peace and prepared after using the home birth checklist

And there you have it – the ultimate home birth checklist!


Each item checked off the list brings you one step closer to creating the nurturing and supportive environment you need to welcome your little one into the world with love and confidence.


Whether you're stocking up on essential supplies, creating a comforting birthing environment, or crafting a detailed birth plan, remember that you're not alone.


From the first flutter of anticipation to the final triumphant cry of your newborn, may this checklist serve as a steadfast reminder of your strength, resilience, and unwavering commitment to embracing the miracle of birth – in all its beauty and complexity.


For even more valuable resources and support on your pregnancy journey, download my free Before the Bump pregnancy guide. Packed with tips, advice, and insights to help you navigate the joys and challenges of pregnancy, it's the perfect companion for expectant parents like you.


With the ultimate home birth checklist by your side and the Before the Bump guide in your toolkit, the possibilities are endless, and the journey is yours to cherish and celebrate.


Don't forget, the most important ingredient for a positive birth is YOU! Trust your instincts, listen to your body, and embrace the amazing power of birth within. You've got this, mama 💜

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