What Supplies Are Necessary?
Not much is really needed. Home birth kits are readily available from birthing supply companies. The kits contain:
- sterile gloves
- gauze pads
- a cotton hat for the baby
- drop cloths
- waterproof covers for the bed
- a thermometer
- a pan for sitz baths after birth.
Midwives bring everything else needed, including the technology of birth, to the home. Fetal heart tones are monitored with fetoscopes or ultrasonic stethoscopes. Oxygen tanks stand ready in case either mother or baby needs oxygen. Midwives carry drugs that can be administered to slow or stop a hemorrhage. Most midwives also bring with them special herbal preparations, homeopathic remedies, massage techniques and even acupuncture needles. IV lines can be started at home; tears or episiotomies can be stitched.
Choosing to have a home birth demands commitment, cooperation and trust. For many couples, it is the most satisfactory choice. Many couples who have one or two births in the hospital and then try a home birth come away with a confidence that is unparalleled.