Picture this: you, minutes from baby’s due date, in your comfort outfit, resting in your deluxe bedding in your luxuriously curated home birth room. Surrounded by your support team cheering you on and your carefully-curated birth playlist vibing, you take a deep breath.
At this moment, you’re not only feeling relaxed but incredibly bad-ass and very put together. Thanks to some awesome planning from you and some fabulous midwifery, the baby’s place of birth is not just a sacred space but the most sacred place of all — your own home!
The pandemic affected women’s health and childbirth practices, including where women opted to give birth. Many opted for home births with a professional midwife, like a certified nurse-midwife.
Women experiencing a low-risk pregnancy who don’t need to be induced with a planned hospital birth might choose to bring their baby into the world in their home.
If you have a planned home birth coming up, there are a lot of supplies that can aid the birth experience. Fortunately, most of these items are easy to stock up on before your due date. With some input from your midwife, you’ll be able to feel like the most prepared preggo out there in no time.
From practicality to comfort to aesthetic, HATCH has you covered with everything you need to have the absolute dream birth experience. So whether it’s your first time or your fifth, look no further, mama bear.
We’ve put together the ultimate checklist to prepare you for the best home birth ever, with a detailed section-by-section supply list in convenient categories (because pregnancy brain is totally a thing).
For Your Bed
Even though giving birth in your own bed can make you feel like a resting princess, there’s also a lot of goo and gunk. Especially with vaginal birth, there are a lot of fluids that come with a baby; you’ll want to buy a lot of extra bedding to protect your mattress and mattress pad.
Add to the shopping list: two waterproof mattress covers, two fitted sheets, two flat sheets, and some extra sets of flat sheets for good measure. A good, clean, and fluid-proof way to protect your mattress is to make your bed in two layers: the first mattress cover, the first fitted sheet, and the first flat sheet, and then repeat (the second mattress cover, fitted sheet, and flat sheet).
You’ll also want lots of pillows on hand for your comfort and rest: Make sure you have extra waterproof pillowcase covers to put over your pillows as a fluid protectant.
Lastly, don’t forget about that aesthetic. Even though your home birth is going to be a little messy (ummm, who wouldn’t, right?) doesn’t mean that it can’t be ultra-glam. Make your space even more sacred with some fabulous decorations:
Consider bright colors for pillowcases and a lovely patterned duvet cover or comforter. The vibrant choices will add warmth to help the room feel as happy and glowing as you are as a new momma.
Save your decorative bedspread and pillows until after baby is born. You can strip the top layer or sheets before remaking the bed, and ta-da! Totally fluid-free again, not to mention cozy and aaaa-dorable for some brand new photos in your lovely bed snuggled up to baby.
Note: While we are using the word “bed,” you can give birth in any room in your home, including the living room.
Turn Your Room Into a Birth Center
Now that you’ve got your bed ready, it’s time to think about what to start gathering for your room. Even though the floor and surrounding furniture probably won’t get as messy as your bed itself, you should still get some extra waterproof fabric or plastic drop cloths to cover the floor area around your bed and any furniture close by.
You’ll want to ensure you have some large bath towels on hand too, to wipe up any liquid mess and dry you and baby off after the birthing process. It’s always a smart idea to keep paper towels on hand, too.
In addition, you might want to gather the following supplies:
- Bright lamps
- A thermometer to keep at your bedside
- Flashlights / portable lights
- Speaker (for baby’s first song ever)
- Garbage bags
- Two or more laundry hampers
Prenatal Checklist For You
You’ve spent all this time prepping your space for baby, but don’t skimp on your own luxury!
Even the smallest comforting items can make a huge difference. You are about to eject a tiny human out of your body, after all, so consider stocking up on the following:
- A comfortable outfit, plus several extras for later
- Fluid replacement drinks
- Hair ties and headbands
- Lip balm
- Reusable water bottles
- A large metal bowl
- Pain medication
- Overnight/heavy-duty pads
- Heating pads
- Essential oils
For Your Midwife
Talk to your doula during your third trimester to get a sense of their home birth shopping list recs.
Many midwives have a very specific list in mind, but here are a few common items they might request you to get:
- Large trays or cookie sheets (to carry supplies)
- A large bowl or ziplock bag (to catch the placenta)
- Plastic/rubber gloves
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Rubbing alcohol
- Sterile scissors to cut the umbilical cord
- Sterile lubricating jelly
- Tape measure
Last but certainly not least, babies will need some supplies during their first moments with you in their new home.
Don’t be afraid to get a little stylish in your selection here. You can expect many of the receiving blankets to get stained with lovely body fluids. But after your baby arrives, the newborn hats and onesies won’t get as dirty. You can go all out on the cutest designs for your new little bundle of energy!
Here are a few essentials you might want to have ready for baby when they make their grand entrance:
- Newborn diapers
- Newborn baby hats
- Receiving blankets
- Unscented baby wipes
- Unscented baby lotion or olive oil
- Baby onesies
- Baby sleepers
- Breastfeeding supplies (if needed)
- Clean towels and blankets
The Ultimate Maternity Care Checklist: Next Steps
Woah, we talked about A LOT of different supplies you’ll need to have the most fab home birth experience ever — it is the ultimate checklist, right?
Now that you’ve gotten the supplies in order, let’s review a few things that might help you prepare. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines or possible scenarios. Your OBGYN and healthcare team can advise you on your specific needs and options.
What Else Should I Do to Prepare?
Congratulations, momma! You’ve made it through the ultimate checklist to accomplish a totally fabulous home birth.
Here are a few tips to think about in your last moments before baby arrives:
- Sanitize all your linens: sanitize and bag all linens, towels, and blankets that you will use in the birthing process. If you’d like some help cleaning up ahead of time, reach out to family, friends, or a professional cleaning service.
- Have a hospital go-bag packed, just in case, with lots of comfy outfit options.
- Lean into luxury. Remember that luxury hits different when you’ve just released a tiny human from your body. Postpartum recovery is an important time; extend grace to yourself and your body for what you’ve accomplished.
Finally, remember that even if you have a low-risk pregnancy, things can happen. Medical interventions, whether they’re maternal interventions or interventions for baby, still might be necessary. You never know what can happen, and you may have to experience a hospital birth.
That’s totally okay; cesarean sections (C-sections) are just as amazing. Sometimes a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean delivery) is the better option if you have pregnancy risk factors. Always talk to your healthcare provider to make the best-informed decision about your birth plan.
No matter where you pop out your mini-me, you’re a mom now! You might be experiencing a range of emotions — and not only because of all the post-birth hormones. Take it baby step by baby step as you ease into the fourth trimester and the next exciting adventure with your family!
Your Pregnancy and Childbirth: A Guide to Pregnancy From the Nation’s Ob-Gyns | The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on birth satisfaction in a prospective cohort of 2,341 U.S. women | ScienceDirect