Unassisted Birth Supplies
Since you first saw those two pink lines maybe you were already set on your desire to have an unassisted birth. Or perhaps you are researching to see if unassisted birth is the right choice for you. Either way, I'm glad you've made it to this article and I hope it helps you in some capacity.
For those that are unfamiliar with the term, unassisted birth is defined as "intentionally birthing at home without a doctor, midwife, or other trained health professional in attendance." At times, others chose to use the word "freebirth" and they can often be found interchangeably. However, for the sake of this article, I'm going to use the words "unassisted birth".
Since we learned above that to have an unassisted birth means that you will not have a midwife present, you must gather your own supplies! Normally, when you hire a midwife, you are not only hiring them for your prenatal care, birth, and postpartum care, but you're also hiring them for their birth supplies. Since you've decided to take that role out of your birthing space, let's break down some basic supplies you'll likely need for your unassisted birth!
Birth ball: For less than $20 this amazing tool can be used during your pregnancy and labor. I don't know about you, but I'm down to try anything that can be used in multiple different ways! It can be used in preparation for labor, pregnancy stretches, and even back support as you push. A size 65 cm is best.
Birth pool: This is completely optional depending on if you want a water birth or not and whether or not you have a tub. Water provides great relief, especially during transition, so why not give it a shot even if you don't plan to birth in it? Now you can go all out and purchase a midwife-sized birthing pool or you can be a bit more low-key and go with something along the lines of a livestock water trough (my personal favorite). Plus, by going with something smaller you use less water so it's easier to maintain a comfy temperature and it doesn't take up nearly as much room which also makes for easier cleanup.
Birth stool: Us birth professionals don't call the toilet the "dilation station" for no reason! However, if you're nervous about birthing directly into the toilet a birth stool may be a good option for you. It has an open front so you can actually catch your own baby! Sitting on a birth stool provides the exact same stimulation you'd get sitting on the toilet. It helps to relax your pelvic floor and really allows the baby to descend properly.
Bulb suction: Again, this is something you may not even touch but it can be nice to have on hand if the baby has thick mucus in the nose or mouth area. Plus, it's easily found, cost-effective, and can be used again as they get older and have boogies during cough and cold seasons. When using it, compress all of the air out of the suction before putting it in the nose or mouth to retrieve the gunk.
Plastic bags: Large plastic garbage bags are great for cleaning up when deciding what can be washed and what needs to be tossed out. Gallon-sized Ziploc bags are great for storing the placenta if you wish to either consume or bury it during your 4th trimester.
Cord clamps (or ties): Unless you plan on leaving the placenta attached to the baby (commonly known as a lotus birth) you must be able to clamp and cut the umbilical cord.
Clock: You'll want to know your baby's birth time! Try to not get too fixated on the time while in labor though. Everything is happening at the time it's supposed to, mama.
Peri bottle: This is a lifesaver to have post-birth and is used to clean the perineum while/after urinating. This helps to dilute the urine so it doesn't burn. If you have torn at all you can add a splash of iodine to lukewarm water to help clean the area.
Ibprophen: This helps in the afterpains of childbirth and also reduces swelling. Use as indicated on the bottle.
Washcloths/towels: Mainly used during labor but these can also be used after labor to help clean up. A warm washcloth can be applied to the perineum to support it during the pushing phase.
Chux pads: I highly recommend these! These are used to catch any blood or fluids. They have cotton on one side and plastic on the other so they don't leak. Once they are soiled they can get tossed in those large plastic garbage bags I was talking about earlier. I suggest having between 10-20 on hand which can be found in most pharmacies.
Receiving blankets: These will be used after birth for the baby to be wrapped in and kept warm.
Super absorbent maxi pads: These will be incredibly useful in the first few weeks of your 4th trimester. Your bleeding will be heavy for the first week and so needing something that won't leak is a great option.
Peroxide: This can be used on the cord stump when it begins to dry up and fall off but is absolutely optional.
Scale and measuring tape: This will be used to get the baby's weight and length as well as monitor their growth over the following weeks.
Scissors: These should be new stainless steel scissors that are disinfected before cutting the cord.
A fresh set of clothes for both mom and baby: Cotton panties, nursing bras, loose-fitting sweats, baggie t-shirts, and low-cut cotton nightgowns are all great options for postpartum wear. Be sure to have at least two outfits set aside for the baby.
I purposely left out specific herbs and oils because it can get lengthy quite quickly and I feel like that topic needs more of a comprehensive breakdown. Maybe that will be in an upcoming post! Regardless, I hope this has brought you additional insight into what supplies are needed for an unassisted birthing experience. If you looking for an even longer list I encourage you to pick up a copy of https://www.amazon.com/Home-Birth-Your-Own-Terms/dp/1090520166. Not only does this book contain an in-depth list but it's also a phenomenal resource for anyone who is looking to have an unassisted birth.
Thank you so much for being here with me and as always, remember that nothing outside of you has control over you, mama.