I’ve gotten several emails lately about resources and advice for natural labor and birth. Since I’ve been through that rodeo a few times now, I thought I’d share some of the best resources I’ve found and what goes with me during labor/delivery.
Some books that I read that were influential in my decision to go natural were:
Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care
Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Childbirth without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth (Import)
I also highly recommend the documentary The Business of Being Born which breaks down modern maternity care in America and has some touching birth stories.
After delivering naturally, I wouldn’t want to give birth any other way, but it does take a little more preparation. Except for those women with 2 hour labors (and oh, how I envy you!) labor can often be a test of endurance. In my experience, the ability to relax and “let go” often has the biggest influence on an easy labor, and there are certainly things one can prepare ahead to help with relaxation.
This is my basic hospital list, and for a home birth, a midwife will often give you a list of additional items.
- Red Raspberry Leaf Herbal Tea
- Homemade Gatorade or Labor Ade (here’s a great recipe)
- Heating pad (I use a rice heating pad that can be heated in the microwave)
- Birth Ball (large exercise ball… great for sitting on to help ease contractions)
- Chamomile Tincture to help relax
- Digestion Tincture for nausea in transition
- Homemade Massage Oil (Coconut or almond oil with essential oils)
- Lip Chap
- Tennis balls tied up in a long sock for counter pressure on my back
- Homemade healthy snacks and drinks since they won’t serve food to laboring women in hospitals
- Peppermints and peppermint essential oil (for labor, I don’t use while nursing as this can reduce milk supply)
- Ice packs
- iPod with my “labor soundtrack” containing everything from the Rocky theme song to Gregorian chant
- Copy of Birth Plan (You can download mine here to use as a sample)
- A robe and warm socks (I despise hospital gowns, even in labor)
Realistically, most of these things don’t get used, but I’d much rather have them ready and not need them. I do try to drink some of the Laborade and eat something nutritious before heading to the hospital (which I do during transition to minimize the possibility of interventions). Most of these items don’t go with me to the hospital either, since I’m usually in transition before I leave.
What to Bring to The Hospital
- Toiletries including homemade toothpaste, homemade deodorant, homemade lotion, etc.
- Healing Salve
- After Ease Herbal Tincture
- Homeopathic Arnica tablets
- My own pillow, pajamas and clothes
- My own food and drinks- hospital food is gross!
- Homemade baby wipes for baby
- Baby clothes
- Nursing tank tops
- Cayenne Pepper capsules (helps in the event of hemorrhage)
- Copies of personal papers, insurance info, birth plan, etc.
My Doula Bag/Home birth Kit
When I’m doula-ing or preparing for a home birth, I have some additional supplies on hand, along with the kit for the midwife/birth tub, etc…
- Roller Ball Massager (awesome for back labor and transition)
- Spikey massage balls (for hands and feet to distract during contractions)
- Head Massager
- Coconut water (for hydration)
- Postpartum sitz herbs
- Sterile gloves (because I had an accidental catch at one birth when the midwife didn’t make it!)
- postpartum ice packs
- Magnesium (does wonders after birth)
What is your ideal way to give birth? If you’ve delivered naturally before, what is your best advice for others? Share below!