I have been an Independent midwife for 9 years and have noticed that there are many things I view as essentials to my home birth kit that were absent when I was a community Midwife for the NHS. I am not talking about the standard equipment sonic aid, sphygmomanometer and stethoscope, thermometer, sterile gloves, etc.
No these are the idiosyncratic things that have made women’s birth and my life far better over the years!
Essentials for me are deodorant, clean knickers, socks and toothbrush especially if it’s a first baby I can be away from home for days!
A bag of food; things like nuts and dates that don’t need refrigeration are ideal if I need sustenance but I always suggest the client gets a jar of honey in for her own use as it is a great energy booster.
Love is needed in abundance at all births and I usually set that up along with the birth beads in a prominent place. Each bead has been threaded on to represent the babies I seen safely born into their Mothers arms.
Massage is a vital part of my birth support and this can be carried out with various tools including tennis balls but most importantly I bring my skills of creative healing massage and the use of luscious essential oils to help sooth your birth.
Rescue remedy is ever present as is the homeopathic 18 remedies for childbirth these are able to reduce nausea help relieve pain and anxiety as well as birth a placenta.
Gentle birth music to help create the right birth ambiance, sounds of waves, dolphins, chanting all bases need covering as each woman is different but sounds are evocative and help a women meditate and deeply relax.
Bendy straws will allow access to a drink no matter what position the Mum ends up in! This gets me on to the subject of food and drink for birth. Raspberry leaf tea is a great tonic and if served with a teaspoon of honey will inject energy. Pop some grapes in the freezer as these are both refreshing and nourishing. Some of those “vitamin and mineral complex” packs which you dissolve in water – they are great if a woman flags during the second / third stage.
A torch for me to see my notes as so often the lights are dimmed to encourage oxytocin to flow .I tuck a “Howe’s Mirror” in to my birth kit for use in the birth pool to see the baby’s arrival.
My Rebozo shawl accompanies me to all births to allow me to “shake out the apples” Do “sifting massage” as well as bilateral hip squeezes. The shawl can be knotted and thrown over a door that is then closed to create a birth rope so many uses for one amazing length of woven cloth.
I encourage the Mums to get a collection of hand towels, bath towels and baby towels and always set the baby’s first blankets to be warmed along with a hat that is lovingly knitted by my Mother in law for the new arrivals.
I bring Inco- sheets to the birth but have also used thick bin liners with a towel on top. The same sturdy bin bags can be folded and used to line the toilet if women are pushing on it in third stage it saves fishing around the “U” bend for the afterbirth! Mums will often have acquired a washable plastic tablecloth with fabric backing to protect their carpet, it is much less slippy than plastic sheets!
I have discovered that instead of old big knickers to hold maternity pads in place, or the rather uncomfortable disposable paper knickers, Tena Ladies disposable pants are great and do not leak!
I bring a birth stool along with me, it was made in the Amish community of America and has been wonderfully crafted out of pine. It is versatile for birth purposes and extremely sturdy, lending itself perfectly for the physiological delivery of the placenta.
In short my birth kit is less “shiny metal” and more crafted birth artistry!