As promised, here is my list of what’s in my birth bag. This is NOT a definitive list – all doulas have little things they like to take with them. If you search on the Doula UK forum, you’ll find old discussions about birth bag contents and search through the old newsletters too (all available to download from the DUK website) as there are sometimes articles about good ideas of what to take with you.
So, in no particular order:
1. Spare knickers/deororant/comb etc for me + comfy cardy to snuggle in when curled up somewhere dozing and half listening to contraction noises!
2. When I go on call I freeze some sandwiches and buy a can of Red Bull. Then all I have to do when I get the call is grab them and go. Once I fancy a bite, the sarnies have defrosted…
3. Bendy straws. great for offering her a drink when she’s in a position where she can’t use her hands to hold a glass.
4. A very pure, non-fragranced massage oil – olive, grapeseed for example.
5. A pen and notebook to quickly jot down notes if I get the opportunity.
6. 2 copies of her birth plan. One for me and one to give to a midwife if necessary
7. A Doula UK leaflet and or business card to give to anyone who seems interested/asks for more info.
8 Clary sage essential oil – this can help labour pick up if it all seems to be going slowly, or contractions have tailed off. Put 2 drops on a flannel and have it close to her. if she hates the smell, you can then just remove the flannel. Don’t put it in a burner as if she hates it, it’ll be ages before the smell leaves the room.
9. Lavender essential oil – relaxing (2 drops in the bath, for example)
THERE ARE MUCH MORE WISE WOMEN THAN ME IN DOULA UK WHEN IT COMES TO THE USE OF ESSENTIAL OILS. If it interests you, there are lots of opportunities to learn more.
10. Whatever your sanitary product of choice is. Labour and birth quite often bring me on, even if I’m not remotely due, and other doulas say the same. All that oxytocin flying around!
11. A rice sock – uncooked rice, sock, sew up end, heat in microwave – voila, lovely hot thing to put under bump during contractions, anywhere where she feels discomfort, around neck and shoulders to relax her etc.
12. Old shower curtain (they fold up pretty small). In case of unexpected homebirths, to put on back seat of car when transfering to hospital, to put under a birth pool, oh and once it was used to entertain the older kids in the garden while mum gave birth – I spread it out on the grass and poured water on it and they skidded around and had a whale of a time.
13. Large incontinence pads – the kind you can spread out on a bed in case of accidents. You can also use those disposable changing mats. Very useful if MW runs out of the ones she brings with her to a homebirth (called inco pads), or to give mum to sit on if her waters are leaking etc.
14. Mobile phone, keys, change for carpark if necessary.
15. Rescue Remedy – good for everyone!
16. Penny Simkin’s Birth Partner book – I find this the most useful one to take to births, you’ll find your favourite.
That’s all I can think of right now. Any lovely working Developing Doulas out there with anything to add?
Love to all, Maddiexxxx