Like many expectant parents, you’ve probably been researching what to pack in your bag to take to your birthing facility. The internet is a great resource to find checklists, articles and videos on this very topic. In fact, we even have a helpful article on this very topic: Hospital Bag Checklist.
Now, what you may not find (which mamas wanting to have a natural childbirth will find very helpful), is a guide of what to pack to help with comfort and relaxation techniques to use during your childbirth. That’s where these doula tips & secrets will come in handy.
A doula is a non-medical assistant who provides physical and emotional support during the childbirth process. Labor doulas help support mom during her labor and delivery. Postpartum doulas focus on mom after the baby has arrived. Labor doulas have a great deal of experience with the labor and delivery process and have many tips and tricks to help enhance your comfort during this time.
In addition to packing the common supplies such as clothes, toiletries, and make-up, the following items can be used during your childbirth for massage, comfort and relaxation.
- Corn Starch: Place corn starch in a closed container to prevent spillage in your bag and use it for massage. (Special note: Test on you and your partner’s hands and skin prior to using to check for sensitivities.)
- Paper or Hand-Held Fan: A paper or small hand-held fan can be a great tool during labor since mom’s temperature will fluctuate from very hot to chilly.
- Different Types of Massage Oil and Lotions: During labor, mom can become very sensitive to smell and the massage oil that she loved yesterday can make her nauseous while in labor. It’s always a great idea to bring several different aromas.
- Massagers: There are many different types of massagers available such as rolling back massagers, wooden or plastic massagers, vibrating massagers and head massagers.
- Tennis/Racquet Balls: These inexpensive items can be very useful for massage and in providing counter pressure.
- Hard Candy/ Lollipops/ Ricola/ Honey Sticks: Remember, if mom is delivering in the hospital, many facilities allow nothing except ice chips to eat and drink. Having something to moisten the mouth and induce salivation will be quite helpful.
- Lip Balm: Lips will become very dry during the labor process. Lip balm is an item you don’t want to leave out of your bag.
- Aroma Therapy: Relaxing and invigorating scents can help mom to relax during labor. Again, you will want to pack a variety of aromas in the event mom is more sensitive to a certain smell.
- Rice Sock: A rice sock is a handy tool that can be made at home and can be used to reduce pain and enhance comfort. The rice sock can be put in the freezer to provide mom with a cool object or can be heated to soothe with warmth. Making a rice sock is easy. All you need is one long cotton clean sock (calf high or higher) and uncooked rice. Fill the sock with the rice and tie a knot at the open end.
- Battery-Operated Candles: Low lighting can enhance a calm mood and promote relaxation. Since hospitals have oxygen in use, an open-flame is a no-no. Battery-operated candles will provide the same mood lighting while avoiding a fire hazard.
- Various Types of Soothing Music: Again, this will help to promote relaxation. It’s always good to bring a variety because mom may want to hear different types of music as she transitions into the different stages of labor.
- Guided Imagery/ Visual Imagery Tools: Bringing pictures, objects or DVDs that mom can use as a focal point can be very helpful. Guided imagery audio or DVDs can also help to enhance relaxation.
What will you include in your goodie bag?
What's in A Doula's Labor Bag
Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST