If you’re pregnant and want to prepare for a home birth, I would recommend Ina May Gaskin’s book Guide To Childbirth. While our spiritual beliefs differ, the practical information and encouragement to moms that their bodies are created for a natural birth is invaluable. The testimonials inspire those who may be struggling with fear of giving birth. Each medical intervention done in the hospital is discussed in detail. I learned so much and thought of the book often during labor!
Prepare for a Home Birth: Supplies for Labor and Delivery
With a home birth, your midwife should provide a list of supplies you will need to have on hand. It would also be nice to have a frozen meal ready for the midwives.
Food and Drink
Speaking of food, I ate a lot during labor! My midwife said she had never seen anyone eat so much during labor! The food helped me make it through 24 hours of active labor and kept me awake for 44 hours. I consumed the same food that I normally would eat throughout the day like toast, cheese, soup, dark chocolate, dried fruit, etc. I also drank 5 containers of coconut water (like this) since it is full of electrolytes and helps you stay hydrated (plus it gives you more energy than water alone). Nourishing Joy has a list of good foods to eat if you want specific ideas.
Remember that giving birth is one of the most physically exhausting things you will ever do. Don’t be shy about eating to keep up your endurance and energy.
Related to essential oils, I relied heavily on the book Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern, N.D. My doula and chiropractor, Erin Spaulding also applied Young Living essential oils during my labor as well. There are many oils one could use during labor but I would highly recommend diffusing Peace and Calming and Valor. Once Isaiah was born, my husband anointed him with Frankincense and prayed a blessing over him. That is one of my fondest memories of the birthing time and it was captured on video.
Most all of the essential oils that I used are included in a Premium Starter Kit that can be purchased here (my referral number is 1132811). It includes 11 oils, a diffuser and more!
One oil blend that I wished I had used was ClaraDerm spray. The blend prepares one’s perineum for birth and should be applied afterwards for healing. It was designed specifically to prevent and heal perineum trauma and has Myrrh, Frankincense, Tea Tree, Roman Chamomile and other healing oils. It is recommended to spray there several weeks before birth, right before pushing, and afterward. I received several stitches and wished I had used this beforehand to minimize my chances of tearing.
If you’re planning to have a waterbirth, there are many birthing pools averaging a few hundred dollars. They have options such as steps for hubby to sit on, heated, covered, etc. You can rent one from your midwife or split the cost with another expectant mother. We decided to do the cheaper route and buy this fishy pool online. It had tons of great reviews as a birthing pool and cost $29.99! But it needs padding to lay underneath as the bottom layer was a little thin. If you buy a pool, make sure it is at least 2 ft deep and has room for you to be comfortable.
Make sure to blow it up once beforehand, both so hubby is comfortable with it and you can make sure it doesn’t have any problems. We bought 4mm/6mm ply plastic and cut it to line the pool for easy clean up. It would also be helpful to have a mat handy for when you are getting in and out. I loved the water and it did help relax me. However, it did seem to relax me a little too much so that it slowed my contractions down.
In hindsight I wish I had set up the pool later and had labored walking around for longer before getting in. Hubby and my doula also boiled water through most of labor to keep the pool warm.
Prepare for a Home Birth: Postpartum Recovery
For postpartum recovery, I made a lot of items recommended here on Passionate Homemaking. I didn’t do every single thing listed, but I followed what I could and was so glad that I did! I ordered the supplies from Mountain Rose Herbs and amazingly my box came in the day I went into labor! I loved the frozen maxi pads, comfrey gel and tea! All great things to have on hand!
In the end it really it comes down to you doing whatever you can to be relaxed and comfortable during labor. Have people in the room who are 100% supportive of your choices, play uplifiting music, pray a lot, move around to get comfortable, etc. Best wishes to you in your labor!
Have you had a home birth? How did you prepare for it?