Birth Essentials

Before going into labor, I prepared a birth bag full of things that I had read were helpful during labor.
I used most of them, but some things I never had a need for. Honestly, it all depends on the woman and the labor, and you never know what you'll need so it's better to be safe than sorry.

I put together a list of items that were essential during Sawyer's birth and I hope that it will help other women choose what to pack when they are preparing to have a natural, unmedicated birth.

No. 1 :: The Birth Partner
I was going to put a picture up of Aaron :) but since he read this book and it seemed to help him a lot, I decided to include this instead. We both read the book and it was a wonderful resource. It goes through each stage of labor in great detail, as well as different positions and things that can help the laboring mother during each stage. It also talks about what a birth partner can do during a medicated birth and c-section.
Aaron and I were alone for most of the birth, and my mom came in when I was in transition. It was really good to have two people that love me very much and were on board with the birth plan. If your husband wants to take a proactive approach to birth this book is a great resource.

No. 2 :: Hypnobabies
You don't have to take this particular class, but if you are planning on having a natural birth YOU MUST TAKE A BIRTHING CLASS. And not the kind that are offered at the hospital, those don't usually provide tools and resources for relaxation and coping with pain (besides offering an epidural). I can't emphasize this enough: if you want to have a successful natural/unmedicated birth you must take a birthing class that teaches relaxation and pain-coping techniques. I will admit that I wouldn't have been able to birth completely natural if I hadn't taken a birthing class beforehand. Any kind of physically and mentally demanding activity requires preparation and practice, and birth is no exception.

No. 3 :: Gentle Birth 5-Week Herbal Tonic
My mom took a 5-week formula with 4 of her 6 children, and Aaron's aunt highly recommended it. Aaron's aunt has been working as a nurse in Labor and Delivery for many, many years. She said that almost all the women that had fast, intervention-free births said they had taken an herbal tonic during the last few weeks of pregnancy. I took it and my birth was 5 hours of active labor and 30 minutes of pushing, which was pretty good for a first birth. As always, check with your midwife or OB before taking any supplement or medication :)

No. 4 :: Ultrasound Pictures
I brought pictures of our baby to look at during birth. I wasn't sure if I'd actually look at them, but I brought them just in case. During transition I was starting to get overwhelmed and tired. I think I was starting to lose sight of what  who I was doing this all for. I told Aaron to pull out the ultrasound picture and I took a good long look at it and immediately felt a surge of energy and excitement. Having a visual can really help you stay focused on your goal.

No. 5 :: Tennis Balls
This may seem really random, but a tennis ball makes a great massage tool. I wanted my back massaged during pressure waves (contractions) and this helped Aaron get a good, strong stroke and save his hands some work. A box of 4 balls was only $2.50, much cheaper than other massage tools.

No. 6 :: Foam Kneeling Pad
Some of the positions that Aaron and the midwives suggested were squatting on the ground and kneeling. These pads really saved my knees and tailbone. Ask your midwife or hospital if they have kneeling pads, if not, consider purchasing two pads to take with you just in case. It makes labor positions so much more comfortable.

No. 7 :: Rice Pack
Sometimes during a pressure wave I didn't want Aaron to massage my back, instead I wanted some heat to help ease the pain. I made this for when my lower back hurt during pregnancy, but it proved itself indispensable during birth as well. You can make your own at home for super cheap. I just made mine through trial-and-error, but you can find directions online.

No. 8 :: Flavored Coconut Water
Personally, I'm not a fan of plain coconut water, but flavored (my favorite was mango) coconut water is pretty good. The midwives said that I needed to drink a lot of fluids during and after birth, especially something with electrolytes. I refuse to drink gatorade (too much sugar, dye, etc.) so I opted for coconut water. I only brought one carton, and I wish I had brought a lot more. I also drank a lot of raspberry leaf tea (see my pregnancy essentials post).

No. 9 :: Bendy Straws
So simple yet so amazing! When you are in labor positions that make drinking awkward a bendy straw will become your best friend. Seriously, just spend the $.99 to buy them. If the hospital or birthing center provides straws, well then you can use them for when you are recovering at home. I promise you will also use them at home while you are laying in bed recovering.

I hope this helps all you soon-to-be moms out there! If you have any questions or suggestions you know where to comment :)

1 comment:

  1. Good idea on the tennis ball--I bet Ben's poor hand was about to fall off! Maybe if I would have drank more coconut water I might not have passed out! But I had the plain kind and wasn't a huge fan!!