Labor can be long or it can be very fast. Preparing ahead helps ease the worries and anxiety that can present leading up to the big day. Having a checklist of essentials for mom and things for the baby is key. Your partner should know where you've prepared your "labor day bag" so mom doesn't have to explain where everything is. You'll definitely want to make sure your partner has all of the important numbers including your midwife's, doula and even the photographer. Sometimes things can move rather quickly and you can forget to call some of your team.This helps the laboring mom feel comfort knowing she has everything she needs and nothing will be forgotten. It's important to have things that will help labor progress. This could be music that you've already prepared on a cd or playlist and either a speaker or headphones for mom to wear. Distractions like music can help relax mom through contractions. You'll also want to pack clothes for during labor and some for after. During labor, a mom typically feels comfortable in loose fitting clothes such as dresses or long t-shirts that are easy to get on and off. Having a loose fitted outfit for after that is also easy to nurse in, is also important. A few other items would include a bra or swimsuit top for if mom prefers to be covered up while in the tub. Some partners want to get in the tub as well so packing swim clothes and an extra pair of dry clothes for when they get out would be helpful as well. Of course because you don't know how long labor will actually be, you'll definitely want to pack some toiletries like a toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant etc. Partners, remember to have gum, mints or mouthwash to ensure you have fresh breath. The worst thing is breathing in your partner's face to help them through the contraction and they immediately tell you that you have bad breath. (And they will).. Snacks, juice and electrolytes are essential for labor to ensure you have fuel to help replenish all of those calories you will be burning during labor. The same thing goes for after birth. You want a protein packed healthy meal to help regenerate your nutrients and energy before you can get up and start taking care of your new baby. Now, this is a general list to have but you can add in some essential oils to put into a diffuser, your birth plan in case plans change and even some affirmations to set up in your laboring room.
If you are planning a homebirth, then you still want to have the same items as you would for a birth center however, you'll need a few extra supplies. Most Midwives bring a tub but it's important to discuss with your provider if you have to get one, rent one or if she will indeed have it for you that day. Prior to birth, you will need to have a tub liner, a hose to fill and empty the tub and a universal adapter to connect the hose to the shower head or faucet. Another great thing to have is a plastic shower curtain to put over your mattress before putting on clean sheets. This is to protect the mattress from any blood or fluids. Besides those items, it would be a good idea to have a bin or area set up with all of the supplies including extra towels, clothes and blankets for the baby and chux pads. Each Midwife has a special list they provide to their clients before birth but in general these are the basics. It's always a good idea to talk to your Midwife and see if there is anything special she wants or needs for you to have ready. Communication is key and it's important to have before and during labor. Letting your provider know if labor has begun or if anything is starting will be good to ensure she can give you recommendations or know when it's time for her to meet with you. Calling to give updates, texting your contraction time pattern and letting her know if anything has changed will help your Midwife provide the best quality care. Check out our latest YouTube video and get all of the details!