From about 35 weeks of pregnancy it is a good idea to put together what you might need during and after the birth of your baby. Preparing a ‘tool kit’ for labour can help you feel more prepared and comfortable during the birth of your baby, particularly if you are giving birth in hospital or birth centre. The kit can contain items that make your birthing space feel more personal, as well as items that can assist the labour process.
The following is a list of items you may want to have in your birth kit, which can be adjusted to suit your own needs. You may also want to ask your caregiver if there is anything specific you will need. Remember that your partner and/or support person also need supplies.
For the car
If you need to travel to a hospital or birth centre you may need some items for the car such as a container in case you need to vomit or some towels to sit on in case your water breaks. You may also want to take a pillow so you are more comfortable.
A birth plan is simply a list (preferably typed) of your preferences for labour and birth. Obviously things don’t always go the way you hope or expect, but a birth plan can let your caregiver know what your preferences are, particularly in relation to pain relief and interventions. If you are having your baby in a hospital or birth centre it is a good idea to take a few copies of your birth plan so everyone is clear on what you want.
You may be in labour for a few hours so it is a good idea to have all the toiletries you may need at hand to feel fresh. Items may include: tooth brush, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer, hair brush, hair clips, deodorant, moisturizer, sanitary or maternity pads, lip cream, face washer and a small plant spray, filled with water to spray on your face.
It is a good idea to have two sets of comfortable clothes with you for labour such as cotton pyjamas, a baggy t-shirt, a short nightie or dress or a sarong just in case what you are wearing gets wet or soiled. You may also want to take a dressing gown or cardigan, in case you get cold. Your hospital or birth centre may require your partner to wear a swimming costume if they are going to join you in the bath or shower so it is a good idea to pack some of these. Labouring women often get cold feet so you may also want to take a couple of pairs of warm socks, as well as comfortable shoes or slippers for walking around.
Take plenty of snacks and drinks for you and your support team. Eating and drinking use to be prohibited for the labouring woman in case she needed a general anaesthesia, and some doctors and hospitals still take that position. However, most healthcare practitioners do allow liquids and light snacks such as honey, sugar-free lollipops, nuts, fruit, chocolate, muesli bars, flavoured ice blocks, toast and dried fruit during a low-risk labour so the woman can maintain her energy. It is best to stay away caffeine and fizzy drinks but herb tea, bottled water are nonacidic juices (such as apple and pear) are great to avoid dehydration. You may also want to pack some bendable straws so you can sip on drinks throughout labour.