Preparing for a home birth

Preparing for the birth of your baby requires physical and emotional preparation. There are also some practical preparations to help everything go as smoothly as possible before, during, and after your baby’s birth. Although this information is primarily designed with home births in mind, many of the suggestions will be useful to those planning a hospital birth.


Supplies Needed

Have everything collected and ready three weeks prior to your due date. Supplies can be bought online at or at Mothering Touch on Fort Street (see contact details in the Resource List at the beginning of this book). Store supplies in a clean, dry, childproof container in your   birthing room. Ensure that your partner/support person knows where you have put everything!


Items in italics are included in the kits sold by WestCoast Midwives.


Labour and Delivery:


WestCoast Midwives supplies the following:

  • 2 large plastic bags (garbage and laundry)
  • 1 perineal bottle
  • I disposable cold pack
  • 18 disposable underpads (17” X 24”)
  • 8 disposable underpads (23” X 36”)
  • I baby hat
  • 2 packs of lap sponges (12” X 12”)


Please gather the following yourself:

  • Plastic sheet (or shower curtain, or strong plastic table cloth) to cover mattress
  • 1 thermometer
  • 1 hot water bottle or an electric heating pad (optional)
  • 1 hand mirror (optional)
  • 1 flashlight and extra batteries
  • 1 large box of sanitary napkins (overnight, extra long or maternity – NOT “Always” brand)
  • 1 or 2 pairs of disposable, net underwear (optional)
  • 2 gel-type cold packs in the freezer or a good supply of crushed ice or sprinkle some water on some maternity pads or NB diapers and put them in the freezer
  • Traumeel tablets or homeopathic arnica 200 ch (optional)
  • Gatorade (to help maintain hydration and provide needed calories while you are in labour)

o   Alternatively, see recipe for ‘Labour aide’ on the next page

  • Ibuprofen or Tylenol (acetaminophen, not aspirin) for after pains
  • 1 box of newborn disposable diapers for the first few days (optional) Refer to Postpartum Treatment sheet for more information


  • 2 flat sheets
  • 2 fitted sheets
  • 2 hand towels
  • 4-6 large towels
  • 8 wash cloths
  • 8 receiving blankets


Birth Packs

Wash all of the linen items in hot water and dry in a hot dryer until thoroughly dry. Store in a clean, dry area of your birthing room. Use old or dark coloured linens as some may be stained during the birth. Wherever you choose to give birth should be clean, draft free, dust free, easily heated and well lit. Some people prefer to use their living room or a spare room for birth, keeping their own bedroom clean and peaceful for after the birth. Wherever you choose to be, the following guidelines will help you get organized.



  • Must be firm (waterbeds are unsuitable)
  • A foam or mattress on the floor works well
  • Access to the bed from both sides is helpful
  • Make up the bed with a good sheet first (for after delivery), the plastic sheet on top of this, then the birth sheet over the plastic. If you will move to another bed after the birth, the bottom sheet is not



  • One by the bed for birth supplies (clean and clear of clutter)
  • One table/dresser top near the bed for setting up infant resuscitation
  • A good light source (gooseneck lamp) is required



  • Candlelight is fine for the birth (provide sturdy, safe candle holders in a safe place to prevent accidental upset).
  • Adequate electric lighting must be instantly available if


Electrical Outlets

  • You need to have 2 or 3 free electrical outlets in the birthing room
  • Having an extension cord available is useful



  • The birth room’s temperature may be controlled (kept cool) for the comfort of the mother during
  • When the baby is born, it is very important for the room to be warm and draft free (an auxiliary space heater may be required)


  • Please provide a clean, uncluttered area close to the birth room for hand washing, with clean towels, soap and paper towels
  • Showers and tub baths are helpful for relaxation and/or pain relief during labour. (Check with your midwife before taking a tub bath during labour if your waters have broken).
  • Ensure that the tub/shower is very


General Preparations

  • Pre-register at the hospital approximately 4 weeks before your due
  • Ensure that your house number is clearly visible from the road, lighted if
  • Post a phone list with your address and directions to your house beside your phone
  • Keep your vehicle in good working order, free of extra belongings, with sufficient gas in case transport to the hospital is required. (There should be at least enough room for the driver, labouring mother and the midwife)
  • Food and drink for the labouring woman and helpers. Flexible straws or sports drinking bottle with a built-in- straw are good
  • Frozen meals (soups, casseroles, breads, muffins, etc.) for at least one week
  • Household help and childcare for at least 2 weeks so the new family can relax and enjoy the new


*** Optional – birthday cake, champagne, balloons!


Recipe for Labour Aide


In a blender add; 1/3 c fresh lemon juice 1/3 c honey (to taste)

¼ tsp salt

2 cal/ mags, crushed (calcium/ magnesium tablet) Add water to make one litre


Blend and freeze in ice cube trays