Google “Home Birth Supply List” and you will find a plethora of long lists that make home birth look like something that needs a tonne of preparation.
The truth is, most of the items on the home birth supply lists include items you would want even for a hospital birth, and a lot of nice-to-haves as opposed to home-birth essentials. Many of them you probably already have around the house! Here are the bare bones of what it’s helpful to have on hand for your birth:
Home Birth Supply List
- Lots of towels and face cloths
- Receiving blankets for your bab
- A flashlight and a mirror (so attendants can peak at what’s happening if needed without disturbing you)
- A bowl for birthing the placenta into
- An extension cord can be handy for your attendants to plug in any equipment they may need
- A peri-bottle to use after the birth: this is to keep in your bathroom filled with warm water to rinse yourself and make urinating more comfortable*
- Bendy straws for easy drinking*
- Plastic sheet or shower curtain to protect your mattress*
- Disposable incontinence pads to protect furniture and catch small amounts of leaking fluids (A good stack of these is helpful)*
- Hydrogen peroxide for getting small drops of fluid out of carpets/furniture just in case*
- A large ziplock bag for your placenta*
- A couple of garbage bags (attendants usually like to have one bag going for laundry and another for garbage at a home birth to keep things organized and tidy!)*
*Starred items are provided in the FREE HOME BIRTH KIT provided to our Birth At Home prenatal class students.
- If you’re planning on having a birth pool, see our Birth Pool article for a list of supplies specific to water birth
- if you were planning to birth without a primary birth attendant, you would need to prepare extra supplies, such as emergency supplies and supplies for clamping and cutting the cord, etc.
- Tip: It can be really helpful to have all of your supplies in one spot in the house, or all in one bin or box so that your birth attendants can find them easily.
The truth is, even THIS list is more than what you absolutely NEED to have a baby at home. People have babies at home all the time, sometimes unplanned if the birth happens quickly or if when active birthing arrives the woman simply is not interested in leaving to go to the hospital. Even if you purchased NONE of the above supplies, you could make due with whatever you already had in your house. Pull down the shower curtain in your bathroom; hunt in your medicine cabinet for a mirror, use an empty yogurt container for your placenta.
Don’t forget: Birth at Home gives out a free basic home birth supply kit to every student. Sign up for class here
If you have more tips to add, please leave us your comments below!