Our Experienced Moms' List of Things for Your Birth Kit
Here are a few suggestions to include in your birth kit:
Items for you
Bring extra copies of your birth plan so that you’ll have plenty to give to everyone who is there to support your birth. Your caregiver may or may not be at your birth; your birth plan could get misplaced – these things happen.
Tape if you’d like to tape a copy of your birth plan to the door of your room.
High protein, high energy foods that taste good and are easy to eat with one hand. Bring lots for you, your partner and your support people. You all will benefit from extra energy snacking throughout your labour.
Comfort items from home – these can be items from your motherhood ceremony, your birth collage, your birth bracelet, a picture that you love and that grounds you.
A Bluetooth speaker. Make sure to create a few playlists on your smart phone that reflect different moods (dancing music to get things moving, softer calmer music to help everyone relax). Make sure your playlists have at least 30 songs on them – you will quickly tire of listening to the same songs over and over if your labour is longer than you expect it to be.
Two complete changes of comfortable pregnancy clothes – it will be a while before you can wear your pre-pregnancy clothes again
Comfortable pregnancy pajamas
At least five pairs of underwear (you might go through lots because of the increased bleeding after birth)
Extra-long menstrual pads – 15 or more
A nursing bra
A toiletries kit including: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, your favourite soap and body lotion
Camera and/or video camera and extra batteries if you are not using your phone
A phone charger and cord
Small notebook and a pen if you like writing things down. You notes app on your phone will work just as well
Pocket change for snacks
Items for Baby
A baby hat
Burp cloths (receiving blankets)
Baby outerwear (during the winter)
Baby car seat – install this in your car at least a week before your due date
Natural remedies that help birth go easier
Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that reduces bruising and swelling. Arnica is extremely helpful because the perineum (the tissue around your urethra and vagina) becomes swollen throughout labour, especially during the pushing phase. Our mothers find that if they take arnica throughout their labour, they don’t tear as much. Arnica can be found in health food stores, from some naturopathic and chiropractic clinics.
The easiest way to take arnica during your labour and birth is to take three to five bottles of water, open them and add five arnica granules into each one. Label the bottles with your name, so that you’ll know which ones are yours. Then, every time you take a drink, you’ll be taking your arnica at the same time.
Rescue Remedy is one of the Bach Flower Remedies that can be found in most health food stores. Bach Flower Remedies are based on the principles that the essence of flowers can alter you moods. If you think about how you feel when you smell roses or daisies or marigolds, you are reacting to a flower essence.
Rescue Remedy is a mixture of five flowers: star of Bethlehem, rock rose, clematis, impatiens and cherry plum. It works best for stressful or emergency situations. Rescue remedy really helps with the feelings of panic or fearfulness. To use Rescue Remedy, you place four drops into a glass of water and have the pregnant or labouring woman sip from the glass. She should become calmer within minutes. One great idea is to prepare at least 2 Rescue Remedy water bottles just like you do for arnica. Open 2 water bottles, add 4 drops of Rescue Remedy into each one and label them clearly. They will be ready to go if you need them.
Of note: Rescue Remedy is good for all emergency situations for anyone who needs it. You can keep the vial and use it for medical emergencies, shock, panic, faintness, mental stress, agitation, desperation and loss of self-control. It can be used for children as well. For more information about Rescue Remedy, visit their website at bachcentre.com
Calendula is a tincture that helps to accelerate wound healing. During the pushing phase of birth, you might experience slight tearing or abrasions of your perineum. When you pee, the nitrogen in your urine comes in contact with the small cuts in your tissues and can really sting. After birth, to help make peeing more comfortable, you’ll be given a peri-bottle which you use to spray warm water onto your perineum just before you start to pee. The extra water dilutes your urine and alleviates any discomfort you might experience.
To improve your healing time, squirt an eyedropper of calendula tincture into your peri bottle every time you use it. You can find calendula tincture in health food stores and over the Internet. Choose the calendula tincture that is alcohol based (rather than oil based) as it dissolves easily into water. Patients have asked if the alcohol will cause discomfort against the abrasions on the skin - no, that small amount of alcohol won’t make a difference on your tissues because it is diluted quite well in the peri bottle.
Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focussed chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, an infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.