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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
- 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!
Discussion (68 Comments)
Hello! Curious about your use of Cayenne in your Doula bag. I came across this online & wonder if this is how you utilize this amazing herb – “When expectant mothers go into labor, midwives commonly give them a drink made of Cayenne, apple cider vinegar, honey, and warm water. This stimulates good contractions, gives energy—and as an added benefit, circumvents any possible hemorrhage and acts as an anti-shock remedy, as labor often brings about shock.”
I’m having a birth center birth, due beginning of October, and your list has definitely helped me with making my list on what to put in my birth kit. I hadn’t thought of arnica tablets-those are definitely on my list now as well as peppermints and homemade Gatorade.
I was curious to know how you used the magnesium after birth? I’m making the magnesium body butter to use until birth (and after, since I’m sure that I’m deficient) but I would like to know the best application for relief after giving birth. Will using the body butter be enough to give me relief?
I use the mag oil on my feet and take some internally to help with recovery and with being regular in the first few days
Gonna be giving birth soon… I am looking forward to using the tinctures!
I love this list! Thanks for posting. I’ve been putting together a kit and this helps cover the things I may have forgotten…My due date is approaching fast!!
howdo you make your cayenne pepper capsules? I have to have C-sections and this is my fourth. I’m looking for anything to make recovery easy and reduce my chance of blood loss. thanks for all your information. i’ve already spent hours on your website:)
I purchased a small machine to make capsules or you can buy cayenne capsules very inexpensively…
we were in labor for 27 hours, 18 at the hospital. the did serve me 3 meals. ( I didnt eat them haha, my husband did!)
Can you share your labor soundtrack? Gotta have good tunes to get through my housework, I can only imagine how much I’ll need them during delivery 🙂
Haha, don’t know how to share via iTunes, but here is a screenshot of it: 🙂 https://wellnessmama.com/wp-content/uploads/Screen-shot-2012-04-23-at-9.06.50-PM.png
What do you use for a pain relief tincture?
a mix of chamomile and yarrow usually
What a great and practical list. I especially love the “warm socks” — YES! Wish I’d thought to make an I-Pod mix for the labor, great idea with the chants and Rocky theme song. Love this. And oh how I also envy those lucky few with 2 hour labors. Best wishes to you, looking forward to baby details soon! 🙂
I have been missing you. thought maybe you had already delivered, so I was glad to hear from you today. you’re in my prayers.