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Labour & Birth

What do I need for a Homebirth?

Items for a homebirth

For the birth

  • At least 8 old towels
  • 4 face washers
  • hot water bottle/ oil heater to warm baby rugs
  • 2 buckets
  • garbage bags
  • heater/cooler for house temperature
  • plastic sheets/ curtain fabric to protect furniture
  • massage oil
  • ice
  • straws
  • juice/gastrolyte
  • icy poles
  • rescue remedy
  • blueys (supplied by midwife)
  • camera/video camera
  • sieve (for water births)
  • box of disposable gloves
  • mirror

For the baby

  • ‘fish and chip parcel’ – two baby wraps wrapped around a hat, singlet and hot water bottle
  • paw paw ointment
  • nappies

After the birth

  • 2 x packs, maternity pads
  • digital thermometer
  • arnica
  • manuka honey
  • calendula

Important notes

  • Pack a hospital bag in case of an emergency
  • Put all items for a homebirth in one spot (eg in a tub) for the midwives to find easily
  • Put a plastic sheet on the bed to protect the mattress
  • keep a full tank of petrol in the car and have a baby seat fitted
  • have plenty of pre-prepared meals for the postnatal period


We believe that the use of water in labour has many advantages. According to a cochrane review in 2009, there is no evidence of increased adverse effects to the fetus/neonate or woman from labouring in water or waterbirth. We provide waterbirth as an option to our clients who wish to have a homebirth, and use of the pool at home in labour for women who wish to birth in hospital. Different hospitals have different views on waterbirth; if you wish to have a waterbirth in hospital it is useful to discuss it with the hospital staff during your pregnancy.

We hire pools and equipment for water birth if you have a MAMA midwife at your birth!


  • Evidence suggests that water immersion during the first stage of labour reduces the use of epidural/spinal analgesia as it minimises the pain effectively for most women
  • labouring in water and waterbirth increases maternal relaxation. Immersion helps relive anxiety and encourages women to let go and focus inward as labour progresses
  • Water relaxes the pelvic Floor muscles, as it softens the vagina, vulva and perineum and may lead to fewer injuries to these tissues.
  • Skin to skin time is facilitated.
  • Initial breast contact is easier to initiate as the mother is already naked.
  • The cord continues to pulse strongly for an extended period resulting in baby receiving his full blood volume.


  • You may not feel comfortable with wading in your own bodily fluids
  • If you are planning to birth in hospital, waterbirth may be against hospital policy, or there may be only one bath with limited availability



  • Balaskas, J. (2004). The waterbirth book. Thorsons: Harper Collins Publishers
  • Johnson, J., & Odent, M. (1995). We are all water babies. Berkeley: Celestial Arts
  •  Bertram, L., McLanahan, S., & Odent, M. (2000). Choosing waterbirth: reclaiming the sacred power of birth.


  • Burns, E (2006). Waterbirth: a natural intervention. British Journal of Midwifery. 14(9), 557.
  • Clift-Matthews, V. (2007). So much diversity in practice: caesarean or waterbirth? British Journal of Midwifery. 15(1), 4.
  • Cluett, E., & Burns, E. (2009).Immersion in water in labour and birth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Garland, D (2006). Waterbirth; an international overview. International Midwifery. 19(2), 24-25.

Garland, D (2006). Is waterbirth a ‘safe and realistic’ option for women following a previous caesarean section? completion of a three year data study. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest. 16(2), 217-220.
  • Gould, D. (2007). Waterbirth: from ordinary to extraordinary. British Journal of Midwifery.15(1), 24.
  • Miller, J., & Magill-Cuerden, J (2006). All women in labour should have the choice of waterbirth. British Journal of Midwifery.14(8), 484-485.

Birth Plan/Preferences

There are many formats of birth plans available on the internet.  Some hospitals, doctors and midwives have their own forms you can fill in. It will depend on your chosen caregiver as to how much attention they pay to your birth preferences.

Will it go in your file and never be looked at?

Will it get lost in the system?

Here are some handy tips to ensure your care providers pay attention to your written wishes.

  1. make it individualised!

Wether this is by writing a little blurb about you and your partner at the beginning, or providing a little photo or anecdote, having your birth preferences individualised in this way can remind your care provider that this is YOU writing the document, and these are YOUR wishes.

2.  have a Plan A, B, C...

By this we mean don't just put your 'ideal' (for example a natural birth), have preferences for in case of Caesarean section, as this will empower you in your decision making no matter what type of birth you have.

3. keep it simple

Even writing dot point. The simpler the birth document, the more likely busy staff are going to read it!

4. put it on coloured paper

Then it can't be missed in your file

5. keep a copy yourself

For your birth partner to refer to, and in case your care providers copy gets lost!



MAMA says: birth plans are a good tool for a couple to use for education, and to discuss between you and your support team what you want in certain labour and birth scenarios. 

TENS Machines

TENS is a very effective pain relief option during labour. Using electric pulse, it is a drug free pain management method which helps you to remain calm and manage contractions.

TENS machines are available for hire at MAMA, through TENS Australia. They cost $140 and  you will receive $40 deposit back upon return.

You can pick them up at our Kensington centre.

Please contact us should you wish to reserve a machine.

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