10 Must-Haves for Your Birth Center Bag

April 6th, 2016 by
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At about 36 weeks pregnant, you should put together a birth center bag to take with you when you go into labor. While you’ll find plenty of articles about what you need for your hospital bag when you’re having a baby, we do things a bit differently here at the Birth Center of Northwest Arkansas. BCNWA is a relaxing, home-like environment, so you don’t need to worry about the basic creature comforts. Here are some extras that you might want to consider when you’re packing your birth center bag.

1. Essential oils. Some aromas can help ease the pain and anxiety of childbirth. Lavender can decrease uterine pain, calm contractions, and soothe a worried mother when used in small amounts. Clary sage is a uterine tonic that will help with contractions – mix it with another scent as the smell of clary sage isn’t pleasing to everyone. Myrrh, rose, jasmine, and peppermint are all good choices. Bbaby-co-colorado-birth-center-395-300x200ring a spray bottle and release the scent into the air, use it in the tub as you labor, or have your partner massage your shoulders with it.

2. Candles and matches. Candles can also impart a calming scent, and a lit candle can be a beautiful focal point as you meditate and breathe through your contractions. The soft light emanating from the candle adds to a relaxing atmosphere.

3. Music. While you may have an idea of what will inspire you during your labor, you should bring a variety of music so you have something to listen to if the mood strikes you. We’ve seen (and heard) everything, from Gregorian chants to “Eye of the Tiger” to opera – bring music that inspires you!

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4. Baby clothes. The weather in Northwest Arkansas is mild, but your baby is going to need an outfit for his or her debut into the wider world. Chances are you’ve got something picked out already – just don’t forget to put it in your birth center bag!

5. A journal or good book. Although we recommend that our moms labor at home for a while before coming in to the birth center, labor can be a long process. You may want to bring a journal so you can record your thoughts, or a good book to give you something to concentrate on besides your labor pains.

6. Camera. Some moms want every single moment of their labor captured on film, while others just want a few shots for close family members. Almost all moms, though, want to have a picture of their beautiful baby just after he or she has entered this world. Bring a camera so you can record every moment.

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7. Massage or stress balls. Having something to squeeze will give your partner’s hand some relief every once in a while, so you might want to include a little stress ball in your bag. Massage balls can also be helpful to distract from labor pain and soothe aching muscles.

8. Clothes for you. After labor and delivery, it’d be nice to put on a fresh outfit rather than the sweaty clothes you came in with. Pick something comfortable and relaxing, like your favorite sweatshirt. It’s not the time to debut a new pair of jeans or shoes.

9. Your favorite tea. There’s something innately soothing about a cup of tea. It brings to mind rainy, relaxing Saturdays snuggled up on the couch with a good book, or quiet moments of reflection and solitude. Some mothers find a cup of tea comforting during labor.

10. Snacks or food. Most hospitals won’t let you bring food or drinks, but the Birth Center of Northwest Arkansas is equipped with a full kitchen for you and your support team to use as you like. Nourishment is essential to replenish the body during labor and delivery, so we encourage our mothers to eat and drink throughout the process.

Did we miss anything? What else would you pack in your birth center bag?

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Diane Pulvino

Diane Pulvino is a writer and editor based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Buffalo and a master’s degree in Communication and Rhetoric from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her two best friends are her husband and high school sweetheart, Eric, and their son, Lincoln, who was born in October of 2014. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Diane reading books, solving crossword puzzles, or playing with her aptly named dog, Comma. You can get in touch with her on Twitter at @RedPenGrammar.