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I’ve had two hospital births, one where I went into labor naturally and the other where I was induced. Two very different stories. This third time around will be yet another very different story as I’m giving birth at a birthing center with midwives instead! At this particular facility, their policy is to have patients stay a maximum of four hours post birth, after which they are monitored closely at home by their own personal support team (i.e. husband, mother, etc.) and then visited at home by a midwife on day 2-3 after birth. As you can imagine, this means the typical “hospital bag” necessities will look a little different.

When I tried searching for what I should bring, there weren’t a lot of options for a “birthing center bag” or simply a “birth bag”, so I thought I’d share what I’m going to bring. As I said, this is my first experience, but I will check back in after the fact and update what was the most useful, what I wished I’d had, etc.

What’s In My Birth Bag

My births thus far have all been natural, except for the use of Pitocin and antibiotics due to Strep B. I also have preferred to wear my own birthing gown rather than use the flimsy hospital gowns (attribute this to my conservative-homeschooly background :P). I’m bringing a big bag containing things for myself, a couple things for my husband, and for going home. I’m also bringing my new Freshly Picked diaper bag that my hubby got me for Christmas containing the baby’s going-home outfit, diapers, and the regular baby things. We will look so cute. lol

For Baby

The midwives only suggested bringing a couple of onesies and some diapers for the baby, but of course I want Baby Girl to look dazzling on her first car ride, so I’m bringing a couple of extra cute things. I’ve also already packed the diaper bag with the usual every-day things: diaper cream, nursing cover, wipes, and such, and we will be bringing that. We’ve also had a cold snap recently (yes, it is January, but it is also Houston where we had 85 degree days the last week of December…), so I’ve packed tights, shoes, and a hat to keep our little one nice and warm on the way home.

(I’ve linked any specific items/brands)

For Mama

For myself, I’m bringing mostly things for post-partum: pads, peri bottle (though I’m sure the midwife will provide one as well), essential oils, changes of clothes, and so on. I’m not sure if I’m going to want to do a water birth – I don’t like being cold, so maybe not? – but I’m bringing stuff to wear either way because I’d like to maintain a level of – ahem – modesty? Is that a thing during birth?

For during birth

  • birthing gown (Pretty Pushers – This was a bit pricey, but I’m on my third birth with it, and I can definitely say it was worth the money! There are spaces for a fetal heart monitor as well as an epidural if you go that route!)
  • sports bra (for in case I do a water birth)
  • robe (just a pretty little thing for going in and out of the tub if needed – Mine is from Ten Thousand Villages)
  • 3 pairs of underwear (I like to wear the “boycut” kind anyway, but ESPECIALLY during postpartum – Mine are Victoria’s Secret, though I don’t particularly recommend them over other brands. I also probably don’t need 3 pair, but hey I’m going to be prepared)
  • three large pads
  • socks with grips (I got really cold both times in the past, so these will keep me cozy!)
  • peri bottle
  • chapstick
  • essential oils (lavender, frankincense, peppermint, clary sage, and a labor blend my mom made for me)
  • comb and scrunchie (in case I case what I look like)
  • prenatal vitamins (Seeking Health Optimal Prenatals)
  • cup (Yeti)
  • Liquid IV X3 (electrolytes to keep me going)
  • snacks: gluten free pretzels (Snyders), honey sticks, beef sticks (Chomps)

For after birth

  • comfy change of clothes (I’m going with maternity pj pants and my favorite Old Navy t-shirt)
  • toothbrush/toothpaste (in case I throw up…or just have really bad breath lol)
  • nursing pads (probably won’t need them, but they’ll be there)
  • postpartum girdle (probably won’t need it either, but again just in case)
  • baby’s paperwork

For Ryan, I’m just bringing a change of clothes in case things get messy for him. I might share my snacks, too. If I’m feeling generous.

Our plan is to head into the birthing center as I start to get into active labor. The midwives assure me that they’ll be able to coach me on when to come in over the phone, and I trust their experience. I’ve also been through this twice before. After the baby’s born, they’ll make sure both of us are doing well and breastfeeding compatibly, then we’ll be on our merry way! I am so looking forward to spending that first night at HOME in my own bed!

There are countless "hospital bag checklists" but not many for going to a birthing center. Here is my list of essentials (plus a couple of extras!) for laboring and giving birth naturally at a birthing center.
Read Nora's birth story - Induced without an epidural

What were your birthing essentials? Share with me by commenting below!

Love, Emily XOXO

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