If you're a mom-to-be, then you're probably busy with trips to the doctor, coming up with names, and getting the nursery ready. Prepping for the arrival of your baby may feel like a lot, but there are some things you can do to at least make your delivery a little easier — well, maybe not easier, but definitely more pleasant. If you're looking for some must-have products to put in your birthing bag, you'll want the tools for labor that doulas swear by.
I checked in with Doula, Pregnancy Coach, and Childbirth Educator Nichole Joy Black, and Birth and Postpartum Doula Liza Maltz of Birth Your Own Way to see what their go-to products were for the delivery room. Both said it's always better to bring things just in case, instead of wishing you had brought something you hadn't, so don't be afraid to overpack. However, Maltz says there are some things you should not use and should stay away from, such as "any herbs or things that you are not educated on or have not been given by a licensed practitioner (herbalist) or by a midwife or doctor." But if you're ready to pack, here are their favorite products you should definitely bring.
1. Labor Position Flashcards
2. Water Bottle With A Straw
Personally, when I was in labor, I remember not just the pain and discomfort, but feeling so thirsty and only being allowed to eat ice chips. Maltz suggests bringing a water bottle with a straw "so someone can hold it for you and you can sip no matter what position you're in." However, she warns moms to "stay away from anything with strong scent or flavor that may irritate you during labor."
3. Positive Birth Affirmations
Hanging positive affirmations around the room may help lift your spirits and bring you confidence and comfort when you need it. Black says you can either print these out and "hang [them] in the birthing room, or [play] audio affirmations in the background. I also help moms write their own personal affirmations that resonate with them. For example, one of the most popular is 'I can do anything for a minute.'" This specific set of cards features a soft, feminine, watercolor background with strong motivational words to help encourage and support women during labor. Perfect for displaying in your birthing room or looking at during pregnancy as you prepare for labor and delivery. Cards can be used individually, or punched and used as a banner;
4. All The Comfy Pillows
Don't rely on the hospital to provide you with comfort. Those beds and pillows aren't exactly made with patient comfort in mind. "Hospital pillows are the worst. [Bringing some comfortable] pillows are great for positioning mom like queen she is," Maltz says. "Labor positions are sometimes awkward, and the pillows are super helpful and great for breastfeeding after the baby is born, too. [Place] one behind mom and one under each arm."
5. Lip Balm
6. Extra Long Charging Chords
Don't forget your charger. Maltz says moms should bring some extra long charging chords because outlets may not be close to where you're sitting and labor can last for hours, if not days.
7. A Speaker For Music
Maltz suggests bringing a speaker for music (or those positive affirmations Black was talking about). This one is waterproof so you don't have to worry about it getting wet during all the chaos of delivery. It also wirelessly connects up to two smartphones or tablets and has 12 hours of playtime.
Maltz says snacks for early labor are a must, and she suggests bone broth or an iron-rich veggie broth as great nourishment. "Some almonds or a KIND bar" are also great options, along with honey sticks. "Honey is great for energy if mom doesn't feel hungry," Maltz says.
9. A Pretty Gown
"A comfy gown" is another must-have, according to Maltz. "You're not sick! There is nothing that makes you feel good in a hospital gown.They are boxy and depressing." She recommends something like this 100 percent cotton gown with unfinished hem tie closure for birthing convenience. This gown features a tie-neck halter for immediate skin-to-skin access and breastfeeding. There's also a low-cut back to allow for epidural access if necessary.
10. Essential Oils
If you're into essential oils, Maltz says to bring some "essential oils to soothe and redirect." Some of the best essential oils for labor and delivery are lavender, peppermint, roman chamomile, Ylang Ylang, and Geranium.