5 Things You Didn’t Know You Need for Home Birth

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1. A copy of your driver’s license or bill with your current address.

When midwives go to file the birth certificate, the health department needs to see a proof of residence. If you move late in pregnancy, it may be a good idea to visit the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to update your license before you have the baby.

2. Depends.

Did you know they now make them in a variety of fun colors? They used to only be available in peach or lavender. Depends are great for the first 24 to 48 hours when your lochia (that’s the word for the normal postpartum bleeding that occurs as the endometrium sheds and the placental site heals) is like a heavy period. The great thing about Depends is you don’t have to worry about extra laundry. Plus, depends have better back protection than heavy duty pads so you don’t have to worry about soiling your sheets when you are snuggling in bed with your baby.

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3. Extra toilet paper

If you’re having a home birth, chances are good you’ve hired a midwife and her team, who will be with you in your house from when you go into active labor, until a few hours after the baby is born. Your body will also be making room for a baby to come out, so trips to the bathroom are frequent. It’s important to have extra toilet paper on hand!

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4. Epsom salts or liquid calcium magnesium.

Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can cause uncoordinated uterine contractions and lead to a longer, more painful labor. Magnesium deficiency can cause leg cramps and lots of Braxton Hicks contractions. It’s helpful to have epsom salts on hand for a soak in the tub if you aren’t sure whether you’re really in labor. You can find epsom salts in the pharmacy section of the grocery store or in any pharmacy. It’s also helpful to have liquid calcium-magnesium around at the end of pregnancy, in case you have leg cramps or are having a lot of uncomfortable contractions which are making it difficult to sleep. My favorite brand of liquid calcium-magnesium is Integrative Therapeutics, which you can find on Amazon

5. A Sense of humor

Whether it’s because you are trying to prevent your four-year-old from drinking the birth pool water, or need to laugh as you put on the “one-size-fits-none-victoria’s-secret-special” stretchy panties, this part is crucial. Humor is also a great way to encourage labor and can help you cope when you’re past your due date and not sure if you are EVER going to have the baby.

Need an idea for some laughs? Check out Jim Gaffigan’s Mr Universe here

What items did you find unexpectedly helpful for your home birth?

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