That said, you may also want to get a few extra bits and pieces to help you cope with labour and make sure you can protect your floors and furniture.
Here’s a list of things you may want to get ready.
Don’t worry about how you’re going to get hold of a gas and air cylinder or other specialist birth equipment such as scissors to cut the cord – everything like that will be brought to you by the midwife.
Sometimes this home birth kit will be delivered before the birth, so it’s in your home ready, but otherwise the midwife will bring it when they come to support you in labour.
Your midwife will also bring large disposable absorbent pads to go underneath you when you’re giving birth. And after your baby’s arrived, the midwife will make sure your home is tidied up before they leave.
It’s not uncommon to , either during labour or shortly after the baby is born – almost half of first-time mothers having a home birth are moved to the hospital at some point. Being prepared for this can help you feel more relaxed during labour.
Making sure you have a hospital bag packed is a good way to ensure you’re ready for all eventualities, but you may also like to think through other practical considerations for a transfer.
Yes, your older children can be present at your birth if you want them to be. For some women, that’s one of the main advantages of having a home birth.
If you do decide to have them there, be prepared to be flexible – your children may decide to watch the birth, or keep well away, or they may sleep through it all and wake up to find they have a new baby brother or sister the next morning.
It’s a good idea to have someone other than yourself and your birth partner around to look after the children. You’ll both become increasingly preoccupied as you get closer to giving birth, and you may need to go to the hospital at some point which can be scary or confusing to children.
You don’t have to send away your pets before giving birth, but planning for cats and dogs to be in another room while you’re in labour might make you all more comfortable.
Some pets may be distressed to hear you in pain. On the other hand, some owners report that their pets seem to intuitively understand the importance of the event and be calmer than usual.
There’s no requirement for you to tell your neighbours that you’re planning to give birth at home, but doing so might save you a 4am knock on the door from a concerned neighbour.
If for any reason you feel very uncomfortable at the thought of your neighbours hearing you give birth, or seeing you be transferred to hospital via an ambulance, maybe you’d feel more relaxed giving birth in a or instead.