Vaginal Birth

Home Birth – What do you need?

You might think that birthing at home might mean transforming your front room into a labour suite… but it really is much more straight forward than that. Here's what you need to prepare for a home birth.

You might think that birthing at home might mean transforming your front room into a labour suite, but it really is much more straight forward than that! It does require some thought and preparation, but keeping it as your homely environment is what it is really all about.

So what things could be on your list of things to prepare?


The essentials:

  • Your maternity notes and birth preference sheets
  • Plastic sheets (cheap decorators sheets from a DIY shop are great) to protect floors, sofas and beds, so you can move around freely without worrying
  • Soft covers like old sheets or towels to go on top of the sheets
  • If using a pool, a few towels for you and a few smaller towels for baby
  • Incontinence sheets to place wherever you might sit or lie during or after the birth (easily disposable)
  • Bin bags for rubbish and any washing
  • A tub or bucket for if you need to be sick- common during labour
  • Tea, biscuits and fruit for the midwives
  • A packed hospital bag, for if you need to transfer to hospital at any point.

Comfort measures:

  • Birth pools are the most common at-home comfort measure, but you can use your bath or shower too. We recommend Birth Pool In a Box for purchase or hire but sometimes your local community maternity services (doula or volunteers) may have one you can borrow.
  • Hot-water bottle for your back or tummy during early labour
  • Flannels for a cold or hot compress
  • TENS machine (can be hired from the birth pool company or bought from Amazon or Boots)
  • Affirmation cards to help you focus your mind
  • Music- calming or uplifting, anything goes! Familiar is key
  • Candles, low lighting, fairy lights
  • Snacks and hydrating drinks (See this Instagram post for our labour aid!)
  • Birth ball (a regular exercise ball) to help you to keep upright, forward and open
  • Lavender oil (or clary sage) either diffused through an electric diffuser or candle burner, as a room or pillow spray
  • Eye mask to help you to get some rest if you are labouring in the day

For shortly after the birth:

All being well, you will be left to meet and bond with your baby for as long as you would like to. Once this time has passed, you will need a few things to keep you and baby comfortable and warm:

  • Large sanitary towels/maternity pads or some people like incontinence pants for ease
  • Big black knickers if using pads- the bigger the better! Supermarket multipacks are my recommendation
  • Nappies for baby
  • A vest and baby-gro which have been warmed on a radiator
  • Plenty of frozen meals ready to pop in the oven for the following 2 weeks

All of our antenatal and hypnobirthing courses cover home birth as an option, as well as how to navigate a transfer into hospital if it’s needed and why this sometimes happens. The key is knowing all of your options, the risks and the benefits and choosing an option that feels best for your personal circumstances.


We are here for you every step of the way with our courses and online Parent Hub and include an Ask the Midwife chat feature for all of your pregnancy-related questions:



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Sign up for the FREE ‘Preparing to give birth with the NHS’ recorded workshop

Includes a 30 minute video workshop and printable checklist to help you to prepare for giving birth within a stretched maternity care system. Find out more here or complete the form to register: