What’s in my Birth Bag?

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

6 thoughts on “What’s in my Birth Bag?”

  1. Hiya Maddie, loved reading your list and for somebody hoping to follow in your footsteps – most helpful. To get me started would the Birth and post-natal course be the best one? Also did you register with Doula UK and do your courses through them? Sorry to ask these questions, but i really don’t want to make the wrong decision, i really do want to do this and want to get it right.

    Hope you don’t mind


  2. Wow thanks for sharing this super useful list!

    I’m currently on call waiting for one of my lovely mama’s to give me the thumbs up that little one is on his way and now I’ll be popping some extra essentials in my doula bag before setting off.

    Sanitary product of choice is especially useful to know.

    Thanks so much,


  3. Great list Maddie, never would have considered the sanitry products, darn’t do the red bull, i would have raging adrenaline; am awaiting a call, and in my bag I also have.
    A blow up/bath pillow, if waterbirth in hospital with non inflatable pool, so Mum can rest her head/forehead, doubles up if I/partner need a dose if an epidural sited.
    Jelly babies/choc buttons for quick energy boost for all. ( but know clients allergies)
    Lipsalve for Mum
    Collect the ice on way past fridge
    Battery hand held fan, sprays cool water too ( but do warn her)
    Sports container with water for me, if I don’t have it and get it out, i forget to drink !
    Battery powered candles
    Eye drops for me (dry eye) hospital atmoshere and little sleep can play havoc

    Thinking of adding –
    little white knitted hats (wool chosen for its softness) my local unit insists on putting hats on the babes a short while after birth, (donated by knitting Grannies) invariably they are huge, pink ( when client has a little boy and viser verser), just think it would be nice to say, well actually here’s one I made earlier especially for you!! might keep me feeling I was doing something to help once a client is over her EDD.

  4. I am sitting waiting for the call to come in from my lovely client, i have all of the above plus, a hand held mirror so mummy can see baby’s head, should she want to and the other thing i always have is hair bobbles/clips, for your mummy if she has long hair…. have always needed them!
    And i always have a mars bar for the dad…. seems to go down well if he starts to flag.
    Sarah xx

  5. I bring a sheet cut in half lengthwise to use as my “rebozo”, way cheaper and works just as well. A mini speaker for music, handheld mini massage tool for mom pains. I also bring a nursing pillow if the mommy has stated she wants to breastfeed. Oh and a plastic bag with ice water and 3 washcloths so I have a ready supply of cool cloths for the mom.

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