P R E P A R I N G F O R T H E B I R T H
Homebirth is a beautiful thing! Laboring and birthing at home is a lovely and peaceful way to bring your baby into the world. Here are some recommendations for ways to make your home labor-ready as part of planning for your birth:
PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR LABOR AND BIRTH
Dim lights, candles and peace and quiet create a welcoming environment in which to experience labor. To anticipate, remember to turn off or unplug phones, have soothing music at hand and make sure your birth attendants know how to work the stereo. Also, find a way to control the thermostat. During labor women get hot and want to cool off, but after the birth the heat needs to be turned back up to protect the baby from a temperature drop.
It is useful to have a working oven for heating up receiving blankets to keep your baby warm.
Good foods for early and active labor tend to be bland (foods you might eat while having the flu) and have some protein. Some ideas of foods to stock up on at home: cream of wheat, soy milk, broth, cut-up fruit, yogurt, toast, scrambled eggs, baby cereal, popsicles.
Oral rehydration is imperative during an active labor at home! You want to drink fluids that are electrolyte-balanced. These include Emergen-C, soup broth, and sports drinks (Gatorade). Juices, in fact, nectars, are often very good as well, when diluted with seltzer or water. Bubbly drinks help laboring women burp, a common phenomenon in labor. Make sure to have plenty of ice on hand as well.
LABOR COMFORT TECHNIQUES
One of the most important things for you to consider while preparing for your birth at home are your wishes and beliefs about labor coping techniques. This list can remind you of techniques you may encounter during Childbirth Education Classes or while speaking to your doula. These comfort measures can be tailored to your individual needs and stage of labor:
- Encouragement and support from your partner, midwife and labor/birth attendants. This can include a specific "script" such as one you’ve practiced during hypnobirthing classes. It can also include physical touch, verbal repetitions or gutteral sounds to help remind you to keep it low and loose
- Frequent changes in position
- Hydrotherapy: use of the shower, the bath or birthing pool
- Using guided imagery to relax all muscle groups
- Use of rhythm and repetition
- Use of a focal point
- Walking, dancing, stair climbing, squatting, lunges
- Using a birthing ball
- Using a rocking chair
- Sitting on the toilet
- Counterpressure: using hands ("the pelvic squeeze"), tennis ball or other massage tools
- Massage with oils: hands, feet, legs, back. You may choose to have specific lotions or oils on hand (make sure your partner/doula knows where they are).
- Using heat or cold: this can include hot water bottle, rice sock, cool washcloths, fan, or a microwaveable heating pad
- Music: gather music you think you might like to listen to, or create a playlist in advance
- Visual imagery