If you’re researching home birth, or are interested in having your own, you’ll know that one of the big draw cards with a home birth is the comfort factor.
Even those who are preparing for a hospital birth will often stay home as long as possible because it’s so much more comfortable there.
That being said, there are some practical things you can use that will help make a home birth even more comfortable.
I’m not talking about your comfy lounge or your bed, these are things that you might not have considered.
1 – Pillows
Pillows in all different shapes and sizes have a wide variety of uses, especially in a home birth.
I used them while kneeling on the floor (it can really hurt your knees after a while), to cuddle into while leaning over the lounge, and even to rest my head on while I leant over my kitchen bench (I tried really hard to keep upright and moving my hips, letting gravity do its work!).
When I did lay down for a few moments, I was on my side and had a pillow between my knees to keep my hips comfortable.
My husband was also super grateful for the array of pillows as he was kneeling next to the birth pool for quite a while and our floors were super hard.
2 – Blankets
I was fortunate to have my home birth during October so it was lovely and warm here in Australia, but I remember it being different when I was in labour with my son.
During early labour, I would have chills and get cold easily, and then get hot when I moved around, so blankets made it easy to warm up quickly (and cool down easily by removing them).
Plus they’re super cosy! Which all helps towards feeling comfortable and relaxed.
3 – Cool Washers In The Fridge
I knew I’d get all hot and sweaty, and that a cool washer on my forehead would feel blissful during labour. So I bought a whole heap of basic face washers, soaked them in water and my essential oil of choice (Lemon, because I love it), wrung them out, rolled them up and kept them on a dish in the fridge.
This meant that at any point during labour and birth, I or one of my support people could grab one from the fridge and help cool me down.
They were amazing! And it felt so refreshing having a cool washer on my face with one of my favourite scents.
4 – Warm Washers In The Slow Cooker
I honestly don’t remember where this idea came to me from, whether I saw it on Pinterest or whether I just cooked so much in the slow cooker while I was pregnant I was dreaming of all things slow cooker, but I have to admit, this is a little labour genius right here.
So, similar steps to how I prepped the cool face washers, but instead of putting them in the fridge, I used warm water and put them in the slow cooker on the ‘keep warm’ function!
It was so good!
They were easy to quickly cool down if they became too warm (be sure to check before placing them on your skin) and being able to drape the warm washers across my lower back was absolute bliss.
5 – Natural Light (and control over lighting)
I love natural light, I love big windows and sun-soaked spaces. It makes me feel happy and relaxed, so I knew I wanted to make sure my birth space was full of natural light.
That being said, I also needed spaces where I could control the lighting, darker spaces where I could close my eyes and get into my birth zone if I needed.
One of the things about birthing at home is that birth can happen at all hours, and when you’re at home you have access to windows, natural light, and get to move with the times of the day.
Use that light to your advantage, be aware of lighting options in the dark (warm soft light such as salt lamps or fairy lights is better than harsh overhead lights), and have various lighting options available for both night and day.
6 – Blueys Everywhere
A bluey (or pinky) is an absorbent and waterproof lining, much like puppy training pads, and are used in a wide variety of settings, especially in hospitals and healthcare.
I had them under my sheets on my bed, on my lounge covered in a sheet and anywhere else I was going to sit or lay down.
This meant that when I was exhausted and lay down on my lounge for a little while, I didn’t have to worry when my membranes ruptured, right on my lounge, because the blueys were there and stopped my lounge from being ruined (even though I desperately wanted a new lounge!!).
It also meant I didn’t have to worry about ‘leaking through’ overnight while I slept in my bed.
7 – A Stocked Fridge
I can look back and laugh a little now, but I distinctly remember during my labour being very concerned about the food we had and whether or not we would have enough to feed all of those present for the labour and birth. It seems silly now, but at the time it was very important to me.
Regardless, keeping your energy up during labour is important, and that includes eating when you can and hydrating.
Plus, after you give birth, you’ll want to start nourishing your body with quality healing foods (and you’re probably going to be pretty darn hungry too).
Keep your fridge stocked with easy to eat, delicious foods that you love so you’ll have access to them during labour and after birth.
8 – A Variety Of Drink Options
Hydration is important, but I didn’t want to drink plain water. During my first labour I wanted orange juice so badly but the hospital didn’t have any and so I could only have orange cordial.
Let me tell you, when you’re in labour, and you’re craving orange juice, anything less than what you want is not going to be received well.
For my second labour I was prepared. It helped a lot having access to my fridge at home because I could have different drink options available.
I also had cooled down red raspberry leaf tea in a pitcher with frozen fruit in it and I just kept getting my mum to fill my glass with that. It was so refreshing and red raspberry leaf tea is amazing too.
Keep some straws on hand as well so you don’t have to worry about using your hands to hold a cup, and your support people can help you stay hydrated.
9 – Water
There’s no doubt water and birth go together like wine and cheese.
Whether it’s warm water running over your back in the shower, a lovely relaxing bath, or using a birth pool, water has a range of ways to make labour and birth more comfortable and help reduce pain too.
Learning how to use water to help you through the stages of labour can help make your more comfortable, as well as having access to areas you are familiar with (such as your shower and/or bath).
These simple and practical things helped to make my home birth more comfortable, they helped those around me be more comfortable and gave them ways to help me through the labour process too.