How To Prepare For A Home Birth

Since I know a lot of people are curious about home births, today I thought I’d share with you how to prepare for a home birth. Or, at the very least, the steps that I am taking to prepare for mine.

Find a Midwife

First and foremost, you need to find a home birth midwife. I learned early on that not all midwives are created equal. In fact, with my first pregnancy I initially planned for a home birth, but the midwife team that I was seeing was not open to doing home births. Nor, were they even open to water births or any other kind of alternative births even in the hospital as I found out. They were amazing ladies and they got me through a non-medicated induction but it just wasn’t exactly what I wanted. With my 4th, I wanted to attempt a home birth but we couldn’t afford it.

So when looking for a midwife, be sure that you find one that is going to provide you with the services that you need/want and that is also affordable or has a payment plan.

There are 2 types of midwives: Certified Professional Midwife (CPM/CM) and Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM). A CNM is educated and licensed as a nurse first, and then complete additional education in midwifery. A CPM is educated or trained as a midwife without becoming a nurse first.

The easiest way to find a home birth midwife in your area is to talk to friends or family who have had a home birth and see who they used and what their experience was. If you don’t know anyone currently who’s had a home birth, you can try searching for one in your area on Birth Partner’s website. You could also look for a local doula or check with a Bradley childbirth educator (many of them will have information on how to find a home birth midwife in your area). If none of those options work for you, see if there is a local natural parenting group for our area on Facebook.

You can also try a Google search for “midwives near me”. Even if you can’t locate one super close, you can usually locate one through another semi-local midwife. I had to go through 3 to find the midwife I used for the first half of my pregnancy with baby #4. (Major income and life changes 5 months in prevented me from continuing in her care, unfortunately.)


Check out the printable Home Birth Supplies Checklist


Assemble Your Home Birth Supplies

Labor Supplies

Your midwife will probably have a list of supplies she’d like you to have available for your home birth. For my home births, I always make sure I have:

  • 2 Disposable Shower Curtain Liners (These are used on the bed as an extra waterproof barrier). Hopefully, you already have a high-quality waterproof cover on your mattress. When your labor begins (if there is time, you’ll want to remake your bed with 2 sets of sheets. Put a disposable shower curtain under the first sheet set, and the second under the second set of sheets. This way, after the baby is born and everything has been cleaned up, you can take the top layer of sheets off of the bed to be washed and you’ll have fresh sheets ready to go underneath (plush the extra mattress protector in place for the first few days postpartum.
  • 2 large black trash bags 
  • A fresh roll of paper towels
  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Works amazingly well to remove blood stains!
  • Chux pads or Puppy Pads (at least 10)
  • Nasal Aspirator
  • 10 small washcloths
  • Small CrockPot (used to keep washcloths warm and moist)
  • 10 receiving or swaddle blankets
  • Heating pad (used to keep blankets warm)
  • Flashlight
  • Large bowl for the placenta
  • 2 large freezer size Ziploc Bags – these are for if you want to save your placenta

You can also freeze some of the washcloths after spritzing them with essential oils (lemongrass and lavender are good ones for relaxation) to use when labor gets all hot and sticky.

And be sure to place a few of the blankets for baby in the dryer so they’re nice and warm when s/he arrives!

The midwife also brings some supplies with her, like disposable gloves, cord clamps, suture supplies, etc. Again, you’ll want to check with your midwife to see what items she’s already bringing.


Check out the printable Home Birth Supplies Checklist


Water Birth Supplies

If you are planning a water birth (which I am) you’ll need to gather a few additional supplies for labor. Even if you don’t end up giving birth in the water, it’s a great place to labor! For a water birth you’ll need:

  • An inflatable pool. – There are specific pools just for birthing that have stronger sides so that it is less likely to collapse under your weight. You can purchase your own outright or your midwife may be able to provide you with a rental.
  • disposable pool liner. This makes the cleanup process much easier and keeps things sanitary!
  • Floating thermometer
  • 1 hose (Medical grade Vinyl, Lead-Free)
  • 1 faucet adapter
  • Electric Inflater/Deflater
  • Water Removal Pump
  • Plastic Drop Cloth or Extra Towels – If you choose to use plastic under the tub/over the floor, be aware that it will make noise every time someone moves on it. Towels are a much quieter option and just as effective at protecting the floor.

If you have a large garden tub, check with your midwife because you may be able to use that instead of an inflatable tub. If so, you’ll just need the floating thermometer and towels mentioned above.

Postpartum Supplies

While the supplies above will be used during the birth, it’s also important to have supplies ready to go for immediately after the birth. They are:

  • Sanitary Pads – You will want various sizes. The bleeding will be heavier in the first few days and then should begin to taper off, allowing you to go to a lower flow pad.
  • Peri-wash bottle – For the first few days after giving birth, I fill my bottle with warm water so I can rinse myself off each time I go to the bathroom.
  • Earth Mama Herbal Sitz BathEarth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray & Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Balm – Your perineal region will likely need some extra TLC for the first days and weeks after giving birth. These three products are a LIFESAVER and will really help with that post-birth soreness and hemorrhoids!
  • Earth Mama Periodic Tea – Earth Mama makes a lot of great pregnancy teas, but the Periodic Tea is a must-have for new moms! This tea is perfect to help regulate and balance those crazy postpartum hormones naturally plus it also helps with cramps and other postpartum symptoms. (It’s great for when your period starts back up again too!)
  • After-Birth Tincture – Use a combination of after-birth tincture and the Earth Mama Periodic Tea mentioned above to provide relief when those cramps get bad!
  • Disposable mesh underwear

Some of these items (especially the medical supply items) can be tricky to track down. You won’t generally find them on Amazon.com. For the things I can’t find locally or via Amazon, I shop at PreciousArrows. When you’re in the early stages of labor, that’s a good time to place these items in your bathroom so they are easily accessible right after the birth. A small basket on top of the toilet is a great place to keep them all together.


Check out the printable Home Birth Supplies Checklist


Newborn Supplies

You’ll want to have a few things handy and ready to go for your new baby. Here are the things I put with my home birth supplies for my newborn.

  • A comfy onesie, newborn sleeper, or gown
  • Newborn diapers
  • Swaddle blankets
  • Wipes
  • Olive Oil – Use this to coat baby’s bottom before putting on his or her diaper. It will help make it easier to wipe off the meconium, baby’s first bowel movement(s), which are thick and tar-like.
  • Optional Items:
    • Newborn hat – I couldn’t stand them with my other children, but I know that it is important to keep the heads warm as 7-10% of body heat is lost from the head.
    • Nursing Pillow – I could never get comfortable with mine, but some women swear they can’t nurse without them.

Additional Supplies To Consider

These are things/people that aren’t necessary, but ones you might want to consider! They include:

  • A camera and/or video camera and a tripod or location you can set it up.
  • A photographer
  • A doula
  • Essential oils for labor
  • Homeopathic remedies for labor
  • Light snacks for early labor
  • Hard candies you can suck on if you need a sugar boost during labor
  • Juice boxes
  • Birthing ball
  • Tumbler with straw or water bottle
  • A large (clean) bucket or pot in case you vomit during labor (I know, not pleasant to talk or think about, but it does happen sometimes.)
  • Soothing music to play during labor
  • I also make sure I have plenty of coffee on hand for my midwife and her assistant. Many births have happened in the middle of the night.
  • Info on obtaining a birth certificate in your state. For me, I just go to my local health department and they have everything I need.

Check out the printable Home Birth Supplies Checklist


Create a Birth Plan

Even if you are planning to give birth at home, you should still have a birth plan in place, not only for your home birth but also in case of a transfer to the hospital. Not sure where to begin when making a birth plan? Earth Mama has this amazing, FREE birth plan tool that will help you create a comprehensive birth plan in minutes!

Create a Lying In Plan

Have you ever heard of “lying-in”? Lying-in, at one time, was a common childbirth practice involving a woman having a period of bed rest immediately following the birth of her baby for 2-6 weeks. It was required even if there were no medical complications. The husband, along with her mom, mother-in-law, sisters, aunts, and other friends and relatives (typically females) would chip in to help a mother so she could rest as much as possible.

You can read more about lying in here.

Motherhood has become much harder as lying-in has slowly been phased out of postpartum care. It’s truly unfortunate. Moms and babies need this time! It’s time we bring the practice of lying in BACK! Earth Mama has a helpful lying-in plan that you can fill out and print. There’s a place to fill in the names and contact info for friends and family who are willing to help you out as needed during those first few days and weeks, plus the ability to prioritize the things you want and need most during that time.

Let your friends/family know that you are working on it and looking for volunteers. Oftentimes we DO have people in our lives willing to help us out if we just ask for it!

If you’re currently pregnant, I just want to wish you the best of luck and congratulate you on your little one(s)! I hope you have a wonderful childbirth experience!

And if you aren’t pregnant just yet, don’t lose hope. There are a lot of resources here on the blog to help you on your fertility journey, as well as literally millions of resources on the rest of the internet as well. Lots of baby dust your way!

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Make sure you grab a copy of my FREE guide 5 Steps To Increase Your Fertile Cervical Mucus & my FREE Self-Care Mini Course. You can access either one by clicking on the title. These are packed full of information that you can begin implementing today to put yourself one step closer to getting pregnant, naturally.

If you’re looking for a group of like-minded women with which to share your fertility wellness journey, be sure to check out my Whole Body Fertility & Wellness Facebook group today!


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