HypnoBirth Bag Essentials
cathartic bit of nesting
Don't let packing your birth bag stress you out. Instead of being another thing on your to-do list, see it as part of the pre-labour ritual - NESTING! It's an opportunity for you to gather together all the things that can make a difference to your labour and your time afterwards.
Whether you plan to give birth at home or in hospital/birth centre, always have a bag packed so you are prepared for anything. Don't do it at the last minute as that really will stress you out! Have it done by 38 weeks... that way if your baby decides to come then, you'll be ready. Get your birth partner's help and do it together so that he/she knows where everything is and feels involved.
These are my top tips for packing a hypnobirthing birth bag with a difference. Always good to remember you do not live on a desert island, so your partner/family can pick up anything you forget for after your baby is born.
Hypnobirthing essentials for labour
For the midwives
Your note explaining that you have been practicing hypnobirthing
creating your birth cave - the checklist!
Here's what I recommend packing to help you get in your hypnobirthing zone. These things will help you create the optimum environment for birth in a very practical, easy way. These draw on the principle that you need a dark, cosy, intimate space for birth and that objects and visuals from your hypnobirthing practice at home will trigger your relaxation in the hospital/birth centre.
Fairy lights – Battery powered ones with a warm glow
Pictures of your favourite visualizations and your ‘safe’ or ‘happy’ place (e.g. holiday photos)
Positive affirmations (with blu-tac if not on post it notes). You can download my free ones here.
Relaxing room spray, or essential oil on a handkerchief or a diffuser - lavender or your favourite blend for relaxation and focus
Scarf in the colour you associate with calm, from your hypnobirthing relaxation practice. Think of it as a comfort blanket
Pillow. Bring a bit of home in and for extra comfort (and you can sit on it in the car when you go home… invaluable!)
Music. Take your MP3 player or a CD player and speaker so you can play your relaxations or whatever music helps you stay calm. I recommend the Lioness track or your hypnobirthing relaxations in particular.
Clary sage which is a 'womb tonic' to be used in established labour. You can put a couple of drops on your scarf or a tissue to smell between surges. It can help your uterine muscles work and promotes relaxation and pain relief - nice mixed with a drop of lavender if you like the smell.
Remember these things too...
Keeping energy levels up
Giving birth is so physically demanding so make sure you stay well hydrated and maintain energy levels throughout. Namely, eating small amounts and sipping fluids. You never know what you’ll fancy eating during labour so pack a pic-n-mix! Good options include:
- Bottle of water with sports cap, maybe add some cordial if plain water isn't working for you. Also a top tip is a frozen carton of juice your partner can pop in the bag as you're leaving, so you have something cold to drink later. Also easier for your partner to offer you sips from a straw.
- Smoothie - one with flax seeds, oats and yoghurt to keep you going!
Fruit. Bananas and grapes (good frozen too) added just before you leave
Non-perishables you can pack weeks in advance
- High energy bars, especially cereal bars and those with lots of seeds and dried fruit
- Crackers - whole grain, oat cakes or corn/rice cakes.
- Vegetable crisps or hummous chips and carrot sticks
Things to wear
- A light weight dressing gown for going into hospital and for after too
- Slip on slippers and socks too in case your feet get cold and for when you're padding around the ward
- A comfy outfit. Something loose and floaty to wear, definitely cotton / natural fabric!
- You’ll probably want to keep your hair out of your face so a head scarf, head band or hair band would all be good to choose from
- A scarf in the colour you associate most with relaxation, so that you can wrap it around you during the transfer to hospital and when you are there too
Extra useful bits
- Lip balm - your lips can get so dry in labour!
- 2 x towels. One for your journey in the taxi, the other to wrap you up in after your baby is born to ward off the cold shivery shakes. Staying warm inhibits the production of adrenalin, so this will help you birth the placenta too.
- Arnica tablets to aid your recovery afterwards. Take one 30c dose at the start of labour and one during labour just before delivery. It is useful to take a 30c dose three times a day for three days after the birth of the baby.
Tens machine if you're using one
AFTER YOUR BABY IS BORN. HOORAY!
- A change of Clothing. Comfy, cotton outfit and BIG cotton knickers x 6; 2 sizes up from your normal size. They should be breathable and nice enough for you to feel good wearing them… but not so nice that you’ll mind if they get a ruined! Avoid anything with tight waist bands and tops need easy boob access if you’re planning to breastfeed.
- Charger for your phone
- Lanisohl or organic coconut oil to put on your nipples after breastfeeding
- Big maternity pads x 3 boxes, and breast pads
- Face wipes and a spritz! A refreshing and relaxing face spray and/or any other favourite skin care (face spray can be nice to use in labour too)
- You!! Your touch, smell, voice is what your baby needs. A few extras...
- Clothing. 6 of each of these: small baby gros and vests, with options of sleeveless and sleeves, legs with covered feet and legs with open toes. Basically, you want to be prepared for whatever temperature might come your way.
- Scratch mitts – I never used ours but I know others swear by them
- Hat to wear when leaving the hospital (if it’s not boiling outside)
- Newborn nappies and cotton wool... bring big balls of cotton wool rather than small ones – nothing worse than poo all over your fingers because you’re using tiny bits of cotton wool!
That's all. Once you've packed together, sit back feeling satisfied, knowing you are fully prepared for the day your baby decides to make its appearance.